How Might Differential Constituency Turnout Affect a NI Referendum?

Recently I speculated on how differential turnout could  impact on any future referendum on a United Ireland. Having done a bit of number-crunching since then on Assembly election results since the seventies, focusing on the post-GFA elections in particular, the answer seems to be: six years. Differential constituency turnout means that the turnout varies between constituencies. Stating the bleedin’ obvious, I know, but there seems to be a political edge to it in NI. Border (mostly nationalist) constituencies have greater …

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What if NI Voted by County? Analysing the 2019 Local Election Results…

It would be interesting to compare current voting patterns with those of 1921 when NI came into being. The exact location of Northern Ireland’s land border – once Thomas Agar-Robartes, MP, let the partition cat out of the Home-Rule bag in 1912 – was always going to be by county, given the Westminster constituency boundaries and census returns at the time. Today’s Westminster, Stormont and local government constituency/electoral area boundaries cross the six county boundaries more often than they did …

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Time to Reform First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) for Westminster Elections?

In the 2019 Westminster general election in Northern Ireland, the 18 successful candidates gained 359,000 votes out of a valid poll of 799,034. This represents only 44.9% of the electorate. A clear majority of voters are not represented in Westminster. Unionist voters in border areas are not represented; nationalist voters from North Antrim to Upper Bann to Strangford are not represented. Twice as many Alliance voters are unrepresented as are represented.  The DUP garnered 30.6% of the vote and won …

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Is it time to talk about compulsory voting?

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you will know outside of Irish politics, my other main interest is Australia. Like us, the Australians held an election last Saturday to decide who would govern over the next three years. Unlike us, however, Australia has a system of compulsory voting. No, you’re not put in prison if you don’t vote, rather you have turn up at the polling station (you can also postal vote or pre-poll) Here is the …

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Whichever way you vote, in Northern Ireland, the Government always *does* get in…

Tony Benn was, in my opinion, as mad as a March Hare, but this quote of his is truly insightful in the context of our own very particular [Nay, peculiar? – Ed] democratic experiment: “In the course of my life I have developed five little democratic questions. If one meets a powerful person–Adolf Hitler, Joe Stalin or Bill Gates–ask them five questions: “What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? …

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Our View: You Have A Voice, Make Sure It’s Heard Tomorrow

DECISION TIME: It’s not often on this site that we feel the need to put up an editorial view. Generally because the editorial team on this site have diverse political views and even if we tried it would be difficult for any consensus to last longer than five minutes, today is an exception however.

Confused who to vote for? Ask the app…

Are you confused? Don’t worry, it’s a natural state of affairs. Particularly so at election time. You are faced with as many versions of reality as there are political parties. In deciphering the various stories told by the parties, and figuring out which story you like best, it would be handy to have a little machine to help you. Rest easy:  researchers at Queen’s University have come up with a user-friendly ‘app’ to help members of the public decide who …

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Who cares about Voting and Identity? Nicholas Whyte explains the stats … #ImagineBelfast15 (updated with charts)

Nicholas Whyte spoke at a lunchtime event being run under the umbrella of Imagine!2015 The Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics in the Ulster University’s Belfast campus: Who cares about Voting and Identity. You can listen back to his half hour presentation and follow along with the slides below. He broke down census results for national identity and looked at the most British / Irish / Northern Irish / Other wards and constituencies. He asks which parties are engaging with …

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#EP14: What if European elections were determined by your political, economic and social values?

In just under a week the polls will open for elections to the European Parliament. In order to help citizens in Northern Ireland answer the question – who should I vote for? – researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have developed a Voting Advice Application. The aim of this user-friendly ‘app’ is to help Northern Ireland’s voters identify which political party most closely represents their political, economic and social values using a series of scenarios and policy orientated questions. The utility …

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Eurovision 2014: “I felt like tonight Europe showed that we are a community of respect and tolerance…”

Well, perhaps…  A bearded Austrian man in a dress, Conchita Wurst, won the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen on Saturday night with “Rise Like a Phoenix” – the title quote was his line from the winner’s press conference.  The 25-year-old singer also told reporters in Vienna On the theme of tolerance, Wurst told reporters in the Austrian capital: “This will remain an issue for a long time and I fear I won’t see the end of it in my lifetime. It …

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Pending Vote: Democracy 101 in the Lyric as part of #BelFest

Over a hundred people filed into the Lyric’s Naughton Studio clutching their digital binary voting handsets: we used our fingers to press the Yes or No buttons. Seated on three sides of the small theatre facing a large screen with a blinking cursor, the audience quickly got used to answering questions as the timer counted down to zero. For a while Roger Bernat’s Pending Vote felt like the true beginnings of the much lauded seldom found new politics in Northern …

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Aaron & Brian’s Sunday View: the Census

  The Irish Times led with, ‘There are just 54,000 more people from a Protestant background than from a Catholic one in Northern Ireland’. The headline figure, that most papers and the media noticed, was that the gap between Protestants and Catholics had narrowed to 3 per cent in the recent statistics released from the 2011 census. Bringing together the information on Religion and Religion Brought up in, 45 per cent of the population were either Catholic or brought up …

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Voting Rights for Irish Emigrants

The thorny issue of voting rights for the Irish diaspora emerged again yesterday on the Marian Finucane show. As reported over at thejournal.ie, TCD lecturer Elaine Byrne suggested allowing the Irish diaspora to vote in elections for the Seanad as a means of allowing more voices have an impact on Irish politics. Meanwhile in the Sunday Times, Eleanor Fitzsimons noted that ‘according to the law, those not “ordinarily resident”, that is living in Ireland on 1 September in the year …

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Gerry Adams: Able to run but not vote?

Gerry Adams declaration he will seek to run as a candidate for Dáil Éireann resulted in a pointless debate on how he will leave his postion as MP for West Belfast. Another technical point is that while he is legally entitled to run as a TD, he may not be entitled to vote in any future election. As the Dundalk Democrat notes and we all know, Adams doesn’t live in Louth or the south: GERRY Adams will reside in County …

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The Faith-Based Vote

Confidence in the results of election polls is fundamental to encouraging public participation and preventing the kind of legal challenges that led to the “hanging chad” fracas around the 2000 US Presidential count in Florida and NI’s own Fermanagh & South Tyrone court cases. Over the weekend, Slate published an interesting article that describes the continued use of electronic voting systems in the upcoming US mid-term polls and the “faith-based results” that will be relied on. Whoever the machines report …

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Vote often, vote often?

Just how many ticks and crosses might you be asked to make in May 2011? Council elections (for 26 councils) NI Assembly elections Electoral reform (Alternative Vote) referendum All of these opportunities to exercise your democratic right are pencilled in for Thursday 5 May next year. The Welsh Assembly elections were also expected to be held on 5 May. There is all party support in Wales for those to be delayed for a week to prevent voter confusion. No doubt the …

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