[E-voting] Laughing stocks and all that

Fergal Daly fergal at esatclear.ie
Fri Jul 6 23:43:58 IST 2007


On 06/07/07, Aengus Lawlor <aengusl at eircom.net> wrote:
> On Friday, July 06, 2007 7:07 AM [EDT],
> Fergal Daly <fergal at esatclear.ie> wrote:
>
> >
> > This is what I find interesting. I do no believe that councillors are
> > people(!) They are elected representatives and responsible to their
> > constituencies. Mr Gombeen does not have a vote in the Seanad
> > elections, his council seat does.
>
> Councilors aren't acting as councilors in the Seanad election, any more than
> they are acting as councilors when they vote in Dáil elections. The
> Constitutions says nothing about who may vote in Seanad elections (except
> for the 6 University seats), the franchise has just been restricted to "safe
> hands" in a fairly blatant power grab, so that it could serve as a safe
> "retirement home" for TDs who have been rejected by the public (as it giving
> the Taoiseach 20% of the seats wasn't enough).

The only reason they have a vote is because they were elected. From

http://www.citizensinformation.ie/categories/government-in-ireland/elections-and-referenda/national-elections/seanad_panel_elections

"""
Only about 900 people can vote in Seanad panel elections. They must be

    * Members of Dáil Eireann
    * Members of the outgoing Seanad or
    * Members of county councils and city councils.
"""

Every action they take as an elected representative should be visible
to their constituency.

> > So (as ugly as it could get in this
> > situation) I believe the whole country is entitled to know how how
> > each and every _council seat_ voted. Otherwise there is no possibility
> > of accountability. The same goes for secret ballots in the Dail (are
> > there any?),
>
> Actually, secret ballots in the Dáil might actually make it a more
> representative body - "votes" in the Dáil are pretty much a waste of time
> these days, as the whip system is so rigidly enforced that even votes on
> private members bills are just "going through the motions".

In some cases it would help, in others it wouldn't - "Honestly, I
voted against massive rises for TDs and was shocked that the bill
passed".

> As for accountability? You get a single vote once every 5 years. How many
> people are going to hold a councillor "accountable" for how they voted in
> the Seanad elections years ago?

I said I don't think _any_ voting by a representative _as_ a
representative should be secret. I don't care very much about the
Seanad elections but I certainly would like to know which councillors
voted for the incinerator in my back yard etc etc.

The purpose of a secret vote is so that no voter can be
punished/rewarded because of how they vote. The ability for the public
to punish or reward their representatives is a requisite.

Actually, I think there is a solution that has the advantages of both.
Every vote is conducted twice, once in secret, once openly. If the
results are ambiguous, you have a referendum. Of course that has some
disadvantages of its own... it wouldn't be so bad if we could just
vote with our mobiles :)

F


> Aengus
>
>
>
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