[E-voting] Seanad election count

David Malone dwmalone at maths.tcd.ie
Tue Jul 31 09:48:17 IST 2007

On Mon, Jul 23, 2007 at 01:58:34PM +0000, icte-jlambe at johnlambe.com wrote:
> If anyone wants to attend the Seanad election count for the NUI panel,  
> as an agent (of Martin Hogan, Green Party endorsed candidate), please  
> phone or text me at the number below.

I went along to the one in TCD - it was interesting to watch for
the mechanics of the postal vote. I've included below some comments
I made below in a blog post.

Unrelated, but also interesting looking are the links to the first
reports on the study of three evoting systems used in California:




I went in to watch the counting of Seanad votes for TCD on Monday
to see how it is done. Basically, it is very like the general
election, with the added complication of being a postal ballot. I
was impressed with the number of people abroad who had bothered to
return their ballots.

The biggest problem seemed to be people who had not had their
declaration-of-identity form correctly witnessed. The returning
officer accepted ballot envelopes as long as they accompanied by
signed and witnessed declaration-of-identity forms (even if not
dated, not addressed or they had been put within the ballot envelope,
which they are not supposed to be). Even after this a substantial
number of votes had to be rejected.

The number of votes per seat ended up at about 5600. This isn't too
bad when you consider that in Bertie's constituency in the general
election, the number of votes per seat was only 15900.

After all this filtering, there were a relatively small number of
spoiled votes - I guess a university education must help a bit when
it comes to filling in ballot papers. I was surprised to see that
votes marked with a single "X" or tick were rejected as spoiled.
In a general election, the chances are that these would be accepted.
I brought this to the attention of the returning officer, and she
said that the 1937 act said that you had to mark the paper with "1"
or "one".

It seems that while the 1992 Electoral act allows a returning office
to interpret marks like "X", the old 1937 act does not, and while
the 1992 act amends some of the 1937 act, it does not change the
rules for counting or interpreting votes.

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