[E-voting] Laughing stocks and all that

Colm MacCarthaigh colm at stdlib.net
Sat Jul 7 00:45:20 IST 2007

On Fri, Jul 06, 2007 at 11:43:58PM +0100, Fergal Daly wrote:
> 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.

Well this is more complex democratic theory, since quite a few
councillors and senators are totally unelected, and vast majority of
those who are elected are representatives only of other politicians.

> 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 :)

As disturbing as it is to see the votes of our representatives
controlled with the whip system, I actually think on balance we are
better with it than without.

On the ocasions when some of us went to Leinster house, on behalf of
ICTE, we always had to meet relatively few people - and that gave us
influence over the votes of entire parties. We lobbied and influenced
merely the nominated spokespeople for the relevant area. When we met
with a government representative, again it needed only to be just one
person. That's a huge democratic benefit of a sort. There is just no way
we would have been able to effectively lobby 160 different people.

Rather than tend towards the idealistic free-minded voting patterns we
would all like to see, whip-less voting would just multiply cronyism and
money would dominate politics even more than it does already. We would
be combining the very worst style of lobbying and influence in the world
(like the US model) with the political gombeenism that is about 90% of
Dail Eireann :(

Colm MacCárthaigh                        Public Key: colm+pgp at stdlib.net

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