Not sure if this has been covered but I could not spot a thread on this. This is not about who to vote for as that would be very presumptuous of me ... but is about how to use your vote to the maximum.
So on that note I hope you all don’t mind me throwing this in. Some of it may seem frivolous but I’m sure there are many 1st time voters and also others who never really put much thought into proportional representation. I hope I can make this as simple as possible as it can seem complex and if people have better ideas feel free to add.
How do I cast my vote?
An official at the station will take your polling card, mark your name off the register and give you a ballot paper and pen. If you do not have a polling card but know you are on the register make sure to bring a form of ID (Drivers Licence/Passport) and the official can reconcile your name against the register.
The ballot paper will list all the candidates alphabetically, and may also have their picture and party logo.
You rank your votes by number in order of your preference. No 1 being you first preference/choice 2 being your second preference etc. Mark your votes in order of preference - including as many names as you like.
Important: any other marking/writing on the ballot paper will make it invalid or a spoilt vote. i.e. If you are only voting for one person use 1 and not X. Do not scribble out a candidates name because you hate them as this will also spoil you vote. If you want to spoil you vote on purpose that is your choice.
Fold your ballot paper and return to the official's desk and place your vote in the ballot box.
Where do I go to vote?
Your local polling station should be indicated on your vote card which you should get through the post. The polling station is more often than not your local national school.
The Irish Voting system is quite a complex system called proportional representation so it is good to know how to make your vote count. As votes can be redistributed after the various multiple counts it can be very important to use your vote to the full. However I'm not going into the working of the system just trying to explain how to use it.
It is important to note that if you vote for just a single candidate, and that candidate does not make it, your vote is finished and you cannot aid any other candidates. The same applies if your single vote goes to a person who exceeds the quota to get elected as their surplus votes can help another candidate also.
The best way to vote is to vote for every candidate on the ballot paper as this shows your exact preference. So if there are 10 candidates in your area vote 1-10. It may sound confusing but this is the best way to make sure your vote does not help certain candidates as it may cancel out another person’s vote that goes to that person. Basically your last place preference vote is a non-vote for the person you do not want to get in by placing them last. If you only vote 1,2 & 3 you are still leaving the possibility of a non transfer of your vote. Remember (in simple terms) every time a candidate is elected or eliminated the next preference votes are distributed. Therefore you need to be very careful with your preference votes.
Further, if you have a total set against a particular party, for what ever reason, but your feel the local man in that party is “sound” you may be tempted to give that person a 3 or 4th preference. This is a common mistake if you want to block that particular party from gaining any ground over other parties. You really have to be very much disciplined and vote against the local man.
Note: This election is about the National outlook more than ever before so your councillor should be your local man to approach for any local issues not your national TD. Lets try and rid local politics from the Dail.
I've been wondering about this.
Say i vote number 1 candidate X.
He gets quota + 500 votes.
How do they decide which 500 votes they take the number 2 off ? Am I guaranteed my 2nd preference will count ?
No, they just pull out 500 votes at random.
1st time voter when will we start getting our polling card's in the post,i sent off the supplementary voting register just hoping i will get a card
Found this here
If a candidate receives more than the quota on any count, the surplus votes are transferred to the remaining candidates in proportion to the next available preferences indicated by voters (i.e., the next preference on each vote for a candidate who has not been elected or eliminated). For example, if candidate A receives 900 votes more than the quota on the first count and on examining all of his or her votes, it is found that 30% of these have next available preferences for candidate B, then candidate B does not get 30% of all candidate A's votes, candidate B gets 30% of his/her surplus, i.e., 270 votes (30% of 900).
Where a candidate is elected at the second or at later count, only the votes that brought him/her over the quota are examined in the surplus distribution, i.e., the parcel of votes last transferred to the elected candidate.
If two or more candidates exceed the quota at the same time, the larger surplus is distributed first. The distribution of a surplus is prohibited if it cannot materially affect the progress of the count, either by electing a candidate or saving the lowest candidate from elimination.
Where there is no surplus for distribution or the distribution of the surplus is prohibited, the next step is the elimination of the lowest candidate. Two or more of the lowest candidates must be excluded together where it is clear that they cannot possibly be saved from elimination in the long run. Where a candidate is eliminated, all of his/her votes are transferred to the next available preferences on them.
Counting continues until all the seats have been filled. The last seat can be filled either by a candidate(s) exceeding the quota or by a candidate(s) being elected without reaching the quota because it is clear that he/she is ultimately going to be elected. Thus, if the number of seats left to be filled is just one less than the number of candidates still in the running and an available surplus cannot bring the lowest candidate level with or above the second lowest candidate, all the candidates, except the one with the lowest number of votes, are deemed elected even though none of them have actually reached the quota.
Great work IrishWhiskeyCha. I think this post should be used as a sticky as I know lots of people get confused when voting.
In fairness though, it's not important to know the mechanics of the system i.e. how the votes are allocated. All the voter has to know is that they rank candidates according to their preference. At that level it's simple.
The only reason one might want to know the details is if one has an academic interest, or if one wants to vote tactically. However I've come to the conclusion that tactical votes aren't worth it.
This is were I think it is unfair.
If Candidate A is elected their surplus should be evenly divided between the remaining candidates based on the proportion of the other candidates' 1st preference votes.
Then the last Candidate Z's 2nd preferences should be distributed since that Candidate was unelected.
Candidate A is elected you voted for them therefore any of your 2nd preferences should be discounted. This goes for all elected candidates.
Also it is unfair as only a random sample of the surplus is taken rather then counting all of the 2nd Preferences and distributing the surplus evenly along those lines.
I give a kind of a tactical vote:-
1. (Won't get elected)
3. (Might get elected)
6. (Will, but just in case)
This is to insure that my vote counts for my preferred Candidates.
huh? That does not make sense to me
so lets say 10% of candidate A's votes will be given to Candidate C because Candidate C got 10% of the 1st preference votes...even if no one who voted for A gave a preference for C???
The way I read it is it's the Second Preference Votes of the candidate that is either elected or disqualified that are counted.
Say Quota = 8000.
Candidate A exceeds quota gets 9000. Therefore 1000 surplus.
All of candidate A's second preferences are counted.
Candidate B has 25% of Candidate A's total second preference votes. i.e 2250 people that voted for A also gave B their second preference.
Therefore B gets 25% of the 1000 surplus the equivalent of 40 extra votes.
And why have you come to that conclusion ... do you not think your vote is worth the effort.
Although it comes from the Citizens Information site, I don't believe that is correct.
All of the votes received by an elected candidate in the first count are not rechecked for second preferences. A parcel of votes equal in number to the surplus is chosen at random, and distributed according to second preference.
Well I can't say I know the answer. So if people can confirm this it would be great but I have seen this mentioned more than once so looks like it is correct system, Thanks Takun
I think your right there, its only the surplus over the quota that is distributed not every vote. looking at the distribution of votes here it looks like that
I think we are confusing eachother here?
only the surlplus is redistributed, not every vote, that is clear
what is being questioned is how they decide the percentages to allocate the surplus
i.e. are all votes for the candidate checked for 2nd preference or just a random selection equal to the surplus?
personally i think takun is correct in the current practice at a manual count, however, i believe that the electronic voting system did the process fully