[E-voting] Election counts on Friday

Michael McMahon michael at hexmedia.com
Thu May 24 15:56:03 IST 2007

Brendan Walsh (the Dublin city returning officer) recounted
an interesting anecdote on the radio this morning. At one election, they
encountered an unusually large number of invalid votes, which appeared
to have two number one preferences expressed. It turned out, that it was
caused by the type of pencil supplied, so that when the ballot paper
was folded over, some of the pencil "lead" made a mark on the other
half of the ballot paper. And in particular resulted in two number "1"s
which automatically renders a ballot invalid.

He then explained that when they figured out the cause they used 
magnifying glasses
to look for the pencil indentations, in order to find the "real" number one.

I wouldn't be surprised if it was this anecdote that gave rise to 
Bertie's famous
"silly auld pencils" jibe.

- Michael.

PS. Thanks to everyone for the advice on how to get a ticket for the count.
Managed to get one for Dublin North.

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