Filling out the ballot paper.

Baron von Biffo

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A few posts have cropped up showing that the old myths about how to vote are still alive and well so I'm posting this in the hope of killing some of them and maybe answering a few questions.


(1) Before you mark your ballot paper make sure it's been stamped by the Presiding Officer.

(2) You can bring your own pen to mark your paper.

(3) You can express preferences for as many or as few of the candidates as you wish.

(4) There's no difference between a No.1 and lower preferences.

(5) If you use only numbers you must have a number "1".

(6) Expressing a preference for a candidate does not indicate positive support for them.

(7) You cannot damage a candidate's chance of getting elected by not expressing a preference for him/her.

(8) If you don't express a preference for all the candidates your ballot will become ineffective once all your preferences are exhausted.

(9) Writing anything on your ballot other than your preferences will likely result in your vote being declared invalid.

(10) Spoiling your ballot has absolutely no impact on the election.
 


ShoutingIsLeadership

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A few posts have cropped up showing that the old myths about how to vote are still alive and well so I'm posting this in the hope of killing some of them and maybe answering a few questions.


(1) Before you mark your ballot paper make sure it's been stamped by the Presiding Officer.

(2) You can bring your own pen to mark your paper.

(3) You can express preferences for as many or as few of the candidates as you wish.

(4) There's no difference between a No.1 and lower preferences.

(5) If you use only numbers you must have a number "1".

(6) Expressing a preference for a candidate does not indicate positive support for them.

(7) You cannot damage a candidate's chance of getting elected by not expressing a preference for him/her.

(8) If you don't express a preference for all the candidates your ballot will become ineffective once all your preferences are exhausted.

(9) Writing anything on your ballot other than your preferences will likely result in your vote being declared invalid.

(10) Spoiling your ballot has absolutely no impact on the election.
Biffo, can you explain how transfers are distributed? Are there circumstances where there is a distribution of a random sample of a person's vote?

If someone has 1,000 votes and is elected because the quota is 800, are 200 distributed or the full 1,000?
 

Orbit v2

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A few posts have cropped up showing that the old myths about how to vote are still alive and well so I'm posting this in the hope of killing some of them and maybe answering a few questions.

(4) There's no difference between a No.1 and lower preferences.
You mean in terms of its value as a vote, I presume. There's obviously a difference in the higher preferences are more likely to be used
(5) If you use only numbers you must have a number "1".
Really, you should only use numbers because if you use a tick or an X against more than one candidate then the ballot will be declared invalid.
 

paddycomeback

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Aug 19, 2011
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A few posts have cropped up showing that the old myths about how to vote are still alive and well so I'm posting this in the hope of killing some of them and maybe answering a few questions.


(1) Before you mark your ballot paper make sure it's been stamped by the Presiding Officer.

(2) You can bring your own pen to mark your paper.

(3) You can express preferences for as many or as few of the candidates as you wish.

(4) There's no difference between a No.1 and lower preferences.

(5) If you use only numbers you must have a number "1".

(6) Expressing a preference for a candidate does not indicate positive support for them.

(7) You cannot damage a candidate's chance of getting elected by not expressing a preference for him/her.

(8) If you don't express a preference for all the candidates your ballot will become ineffective once all your preferences are exhausted.

(9) Writing anything on your ballot other than your preferences will likely result in your vote being declared invalid.

(10) Spoiling your ballot has absolutely no impact on the election.
(4) Of course there's a difference. If a candidate got a hundred thousand #2s and no #1s they would be eliminated in first count by a candidate with a single #1 and no other votes at all.
 

Orbit v2

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Biffo, can you explain how transfers are distributed? Are there circumstances where there is a distribution of a random sample of a person's vote?

If someone has 1,000 votes and is elected because the quota is 800, are 200 distributed or the full 1,000?
200 for a Dáil election. In the senate the full 1,000 would be distributed, but each would be worth 1/5th of a vote. For Dail elections, ballots are transferred in their entirety.
 

Cilldara_2000

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Jun 9, 2009
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Biffo, can you explain how transfers are distributed? Are there circumstances where there is a distribution of a random sample of a person's vote?

If someone has 1,000 votes and is elected because the quota is 800, are 200 distributed or the full 1,000?
Random sample. They fire all 1000 ballot papers into a box and pull out 200 at random.

Edit: Only on the first count. If X is 200 off the quota on the nth count, Y gets eliminated, then transfers 400 to X, the surplus will be 200. In this scenario they only take the sample from the last packet transferred to X, IE 200 of the 400 received from Y.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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200 for a Dáil election. In the senate the full 1,000 would be distributed, but each would be worth 1/5th of a vote. For Dail elections, ballots are transferred in their entirety.
Does your last sentence contradict your first?
 

seanof

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Random sample. They fire all 1000 ballot papers into a box and pull out 200 at random.

Edit: Only on the first count. If X is 200 off the quota on the nth count, Y gets eliminated, then transfers 400 to X, the surplus will be 200. In this scenario they only take the sample from the last packet transferred to X, IE 200 of the 400 received from Y.
In the case of a full recount, is the sampling method you've described used?
 

Orbit v2

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Random sample. They fire all 1000 ballot papers into a box and pull out 200 at random.

Edit: Only on the first count. If X is 200 off the quota on the nth count, Y gets eliminated, then transfers 400 to X, the surplus will be 200. In this scenario they only take the sample from the last packet transferred to X, IE 200 of the 400 received from Y.
They are effectively random but only because the votes are mixed at the start of the count. They don't mix them again when a surplus arises. The procedure is described in detail in the 1992 electoral act.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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Random sample. They fire all 1000 ballot papers into a box and pull out 200 at random.

Edit: Only on the first count. If X is 200 off the quota on the nth count, Y gets eliminated, then transfers 400 to X, the surplus will be 200. In this scenario they only take the sample from the last packet transferred to X, IE 200 of the 400 received from Y.
If Z gets elected with 1000 votes and a surplus of 200 goes straight to W (almost impossible) and W needed only 100 to make the quota, do 100 of Z's votes continue to be transferred? Seems that the 200 who voted for Z get a disproportionate say in the outcome if the answer is yes
 

crossman

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I will add one further myth. If you really don't want to help one candidate, leaving his/her blank while giving all others a preference has exactly the same effect as giving them your last preference e.g. no. 16 if there are 16 candidates. Some people feel the latter can help them; it can't.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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I will add one further myth. If you really don't want to help one candidate, leaving his/her blank while giving all others a preference has exactly the same effect as giving them your last preference e.g. no. 16 if there are 16 candidates. Some people feel the latter can help them; it can't.
Also it seems that if you vote number 1 for a heavy favourite it is very possible that based on the sampling method described, your vote might not travel beyond that.

Maybe give your second favourite a number 1 in such circumstances? (Obviously if everybody did that your favourite would not be elected...But they wouldn't all do that)
 

seanof

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I will add one further myth. If you really don't want to help one candidate, leaving his/her blank while giving all others a preference has exactly the same effect as giving them your last preference e.g. no. 16 if there are 16 candidates. Some people feel the latter can help them; it can't.
Would it help them in the unlikely event that it went to the 16th count?
 

crossman

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Also it seems that if you vote number 1 for a heavy favourite it is very possible that based on the sampling method described, your vote might not travel beyond that.

Maybe give your second favourite a number 1 in such circumstances? (Obviously if everybody did that your favourite would not be elected...But they wouldn't all do tha
If its not transferred, its used to elect your candidate.
 

seanof

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No because you have everyone else ahead of them.
Am I right in thinking then, that in the same scenario described above, that my 15th preference could count?
 
Last edited:

MsDaisyC

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Writing in pen isn't safer than the pencils supplied. Pencil is used not because paranoid nutjobs think someone can change their vote but because in the event of water damage, pencil remains but ink can be washed away.
 

hiding behind a poster

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You mean in terms of its value as a vote, I presume. There's obviously a difference in the higher preferences are more likely to be used
Depends on who you cast them for.

Really, you should only use numbers because if you use a tick or an X against more than one candidate then the ballot will be declared invalid.
Only if that's all you have on the ballot paper. For example if you vote 1,2,3,4 and then put X's after everyone else, your ballot paper will be active from 1 to 4. It'll never be invalid, but it won't be used to go beyond your No.4 should the possibility arise, it'll end there as a non-transferrable. Even one tick and a load of X's will most likely be judged valid for the tick only.
 


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