Vote for the ‘No Homework Party’
February 6, 2020 1:11 PM   Subscribe

RTE teamed up with the 3rd and 4th class (aged 8-10) pupils of Glenbeg National School to explain the voting system ahead of Saturday’s general election in Ireland.

The Irish government has its own guide (pdf) which covers some of the intricacies of quotas, transfers and surpluses.

The latest polls are indicating a swing towards Sinn Féin and away from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. (Poll results) But given the difficulty of converting poll numbers to preferences, Richard Downes heads out to see if he can get some predictions from professors, psychics, political correspondents and.... Muireann the mystic octopus.
posted by scorbet (12 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Lovely video of the Glenbeg kids rockin' the vote. I miss the west coast of Ireland!

This system reminds me of the newish ranked-choice voting we have in Maine, although I think Ireland's is necessarily more complex in the tallying.

ádh mór d'Éirinn!
posted by Jubal Kessler at 5:19 PM on February 6


Love this. My personal theory is that prstv is one of the reasons why Ireland has (almost entirely) avoided having a significant far right / fascist vote. Giving thought to your preferences brings the voter to the centre. Which many might criticise but for my money makes for a more thoughtful electorate. There's a big difference between choosing one versus the other and ranking each in order of preference.

Courage to the voters of Ireland on Saturday. Vote long and vote down that list!
posted by roolya_boolya at 5:51 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Here's an adult version of the video.

I hope it doesn't blow your mind America but our system means that political parties gain power in our institutions more or less in line with the number votes they get. It might be quirky and time consuming but we like it. [lots of Irish Times links so watch your paywall limits]
posted by roolya_boolya at 6:10 PM on February 6 [4 favorites]


The redistribution of votes from the winning party that is above the quota is very interesting! Does this have the affect of reducing the duopoly common in places like Australia? Australia has preferential voting that looks a bit like this but is a bit different.
posted by freethefeet at 3:00 AM on February 7


Does this have the affect of reducing the duopoly common in places like Australia?

Here's a BBC profile on the various Irish parties. Ireland has, at least up to now, had its own weird duopoly with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael (both centre-rightish) swapping out every so often depending on who was last felt by the electorate to have messed up. Seriously, they (or a forerunner party in the case of FG) have been alternately in power since 1923, mostly as either a minority government or with various smaller coalition partners.

On the other hand, the two "main" parties have currently less than 60% of the seats. Multi-seat constituencies and PR-STV penalise smaller parties and independents less. Voters also tend to make decisions based on the candidates themselves, with the party they belong not automatically the most important thing about them.

It does mean that your ability to appeal to voters outside of your core supporters is important. So that you can get their second or third preference or lower. And, yes, that can be where the transfers of votes above the quota makes a difference - you can get transfers from the successful candidates, as well as the lowest ranking ones. The Green Party had tended to do very well on transfers, whereas traditionally Sinn Féin is very transfer-unfriendly.

(If it's only a single seat, e.g. a by-election in the Dáil or the Presidential election, then I think more or less the Australian model is used.)
posted by scorbet at 5:53 AM on February 7


It might be quirky and time consuming but we like it.

I'm too long out of Ireland, so I can't vote in the Dáil election, but I can in the Seanad one. I am looking forward to following the counting from Sunday though.

(Reminder to any NUI and Trinity graduates that the yearly deadline for registering for the Seanad elections is February 26th - you aren't on the register until June so won't be able to vote in the coming election, but will in the following one, whenever that is. As a reminder Rónán Mullen is on the NUI panel.)
posted by scorbet at 6:04 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Voters also tend to make decisions based on the candidates themselves, with the party they belong not automatically the most important thing about them.

This was the thing that I found most interesting about Irish politics. Lots of people in my family vote mainly based on what candidates do for their constituency. The other thing is that, least in the country towns I was in, election night is shown in the pub.
posted by plonkee at 11:41 AM on February 7


Okay, so the exit poll suggests a three-way draw for first preferences. (FG 22.4%, SF 22.3%, FF 22.2% with a margin of error of 1.7%). This is new.

The actual count will start tomorrow morning and probably go on until Monday at the earliest and most likely later.
posted by scorbet at 2:21 PM on February 8


Live count on RTÉ now. Sinn Fein performing strongly. The most disruptive election result in many years in Ireland. Transfers will be decisive in deciding the next government.
posted by roolya_boolya at 8:54 AM on February 9


Sinn Fein performing strongly.

At 78 TDs (almost half of the 160 seats) elected, SF have got 29, and got the highest amount of first preference votes. However, they will probably not end up with the most number of seats. Unfortunately for them, even they didn't predict the support they were going to get, and played it a bit safe with the number of candidates. They only put forward 42 candidates, and at least 3 have already been eliminated, so they can only get another 10 max.

Putting together a new government is going to be interesting...
posted by scorbet at 1:57 AM on February 10


Been following this also. As a soon to be resident of N. Ireland, my friends there have noted its not really been mentioned much. I've found the Independent and the Guardian's takes on Sinn Fein as interesting perspectives vs the "populism is here in Ireland everyone freak out" that seems to be going on in British and US press circles.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:56 PM on February 10


"populism is here in Ireland everyone freak out" that seems to be going on in British and US press circles.

The "this is all to do with Brexit and/or Britain" take from various British sources is even better. I think the argument has already gone from "the electorate was punishing Leo for his anti-British stance by voting in SF" (which is actually hilarious) to "the electorate agrees so much with Leo's anti-British stance that they decided to vote in the experts on it". Meanwhile Brexit was regarded as an important issue for the election by 1% of the electorate.

The Irish Times has provided a coalition builder if anyone wants to try and form a new government. Though I would note that they have lumped all of the independents (including Independents for Choice) and Aontú into one block, which is a bit misleading.
posted by scorbet at 1:59 AM on February 12


« Older Birds are wild.   |   The Love Song of J. Alfred Skimbleshanks Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments