Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Aren't We Forgetting A Few People?

As the political world starts its rather leisurely return to school, thoughts in the devolved parts of the country return once again to the problems of multiple referendums and elections on the same day in May 2011. And as Betsan Powys raises the very good question as to which of the various polls will be counted first, I'd like to pose one of my own.

Why do we keep forgetting Northern Ireland?

It may have escaped our notice, but their devolved government has (perhaps most miraculously of all) survived its four years and will be due elections in May 2011 itself. What's more, thanks to the failure of their most recent attempt at local government reforms, there will also be local government elections the same day. So that's two STV elections with something approaching a million ballots to be dealt with as it is, plus the AV referendum on top...

Such forgetfulness is particularly unusual given how crucial Northern Ireland's votes could be in the overall shakeup. After all, this is a country whose political system wouldn't function without STV; there has to be a decent chance of a wide margin in favour of AV and if there is, it could be 2011's Carmarthenshire...

1 comment:

andrewteale said...

NI had its last two sets of local elections on the same day as the 2001 and 2005 general elections, so they do have experience of such combined polls. Also the average counting centre in GB is probably bigger than that in NI - I imagine Cardiff City Council alone will have to count something in the region of 300,000 papers.

(Incidentally take a look at the website of the Electoral Office of Northern Ireland. That is what election results websites should aspire to.)