Some Random Thoughts and Facts on the Election3 min read Ireland · National/International Politics
- 469 candidates vying for 165 seats - wow!
Candidates don’t have to live in the constituency (district) where they’re running for office. So, some candidates can’t even vote for themselves - Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is one example.
There has been no television advertising during this race - I’m assuming it’s against the law.
The signs - man, it’s hard to describe how many signs are up around this country. It’s not a bit unusual to see a lamp post with 6 or 7 signs on it.
Candidates here still drive trucks around with a P.A. system blasting out “Vote for me and I’ll make your life better”-type messages. Wish I could have gotten a video of one.
There is a total news blackout about the election and all candidates for 24 hours prior to election day, as one newspaper put it “To give the voters a breather.”
I’ve commented before about how dense and substantive the newspapers are here. That goes double for during the campaign. The amount of solid news and analysis that’s put out during this campaign has been just incredible. Real issues being discussed - what an idea!
This country is so small that people still really get a chance to meet and talk with their elected officials - there’s a lot to be said for small.
Gambling is legal in Ireland and every small town has at least one bookmaker. Bookies take bets on the elections, and current odds are reported in the paper and on the evening news. The Taoiseach even put down a 1,000 euro bet on himself to win his election (a safe bet).
Polls are run here, but they seem to be given less weight than in America. Largely I think that’s due to the way the coalitions are formed after the elections, and the instant-runoff voting. The preference-ranking system in voting makes it harder to get accurate polls on individual seats, and there’s no good way to predict the eventual government because it depends on how many seats each party gets.
Vote counting starts on Friday at 9:00AM. Apparently the counting can be quite a spectacle, and people will go to the counting centers to watch the counts. State television will carry the counting live tomorrow, and rumor has it people actually have parties at home to watch the counts come in.
Exit polling was done during voting today, but no results will be announced until Friday morning, well after polls close.
Polls are open from 7:30AM to 10:30PM. There was much griping that the Taoiseach didn’t call the election for a Saturday to make things easier for people.
There has been much reportage of the “abysmal” turnout in the last election - 63%. Turnout is predicted to be much higher this year.
When all is said and done, there will probably be 6 different political parties represented in the Dail, as well as several Independent members. I would guess there are another dozen or so parties in the election in various constituencies. Since there are more than two choices, you hear almost no “us against them” talk - a very refreshing change! This makes room for a LOT of ideas.