Diary of a Canvasser – By-Election Edition

On Saturday I went on my first By-Election canvass since getting involved with Young Fine Gael. I was in Ratoath in Meath East canvassing for the Fine Gael Candidate Helen McEntee who is running for election to replace her father who tragically died before Christmas.

This canvass was different to any other canvass I had done. While I had travelled distances before to canvass, never have I had to travel long distances between houses!!! Yes it was a rural canvass!

Thankfully I was in good company as my friend Sinead, another city slicker like myself, was with me and I would like to think we managed it ably! There was also four members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party in the area, Minister Ciaran Cannon, Deputy Regina Doherty (who’s office was doing an amazing job organising us), Deputy Jerry Buttimer and Senator Colm Burke.

The fresh air, the animals, the smells, and getting in and out of the car so often took a bit of getting used to. Also the numerous holes, bumps and various other things I fell over meant I had an interesting day and slept on the way home! But I think I will definitely be better prepared for my next rural canvass if I have to do one in Cork South Central at the next election.

Now I was expecting to be lambasted out of it on the doors considering everything in the media about the current Government. While there was a lot of unhappiness about the current state of the country, many people understood that recovery takes time, and were waiting it out.

The canvass also reminded me of the inherit politeness of Irish people. While they may not agree with us, they would listen to us and engage and be surprised that we had travelled all the way from Cork to canvass for Helen.

One thing that struck me while up there was the professionalism of the campaign. When we arrived we were handed maps and told exactly where to go. There is a very efficient plan in place which will hopefully pay off on March 27th.

We of course weren’t the only canvass team in the area, Fianna Fail were out with Willie O’Dea canvassing for Sen. Thomas Byrne, Labour were out for Cllr Eoin Holmes, Sinn Fein were out for Darren O’Rourke and Direct Democracy Ireland were out for Ben Gilroy.

It was interesting at lunch time as Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein were all in the same place! Which led to some hilarious conversations as you can well imagine!

It is impossible to tell which way this vote will go, and you never really trust people when they tell you they are voting for your candidate, well you don’t when you have been canvassing as long as I have, but if they were telling the truth Helen has a very good chance of retaining her father’s seat.

Unfortunately I won’t get up to Meath again before the vote, so I am hoping that the people of Meath East will back Helen McEntee who is a young, capable and fantastic candidate and will ably represent the people of Meath East in Dáil Eireann.

US Election 2012: Election Nerds Unite!

So tonight’s the night that hundreds of political hacks, opinion makers and general election nerds all over the world, stay up or get up early to see what happens in an election that they have no influence over, but arguable has the most effect on them outside of their own national elections, the US Presidential Election. So whats the story?

Well if you haven’t taken a nap, I hope you have tomorrow off because it will be a long night. The first polls begin to close at 2300 GMT in Kentucky and Indiana and the last poll closes at 0500 GMT (Wed) in Alaska.

But these arent the important ones. The battle ground states polls close as follows:

  • Virgina 0000 GMT
  • North Carolina 0030 GMT
  • Ohio 0030 GMT
  • Florida 0100 GMT
  • New Hampshire 0100 GMT
  • Pennsylvania 0100 GMT
  • Colorado 0200 GMT
  • Wisconsin 0200 GMT
  • Iowa 0300 GMT
  • Nevada 0300 GMT

Each state should be called based on exit polls and early results soon after.  So we should have an idea who will win between 0300 and 0500, as I said it will be a long night.

Is it just about Obama, Romney, the popular vote and the electoral college (there is a lot written about those elsewhere so I wont bother). Well it mainly is but there is plenty else going on 11 State Governors, 33 Senate Seats and all of the 435 seats in House of Representatives.

Some interesting races here to watch including can Scott Brown hold his Senate seat from Democrat Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. Will Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana two Republicans who made bad statements on rape manage to get elected? Will Tammy Baldwin a Democrat in Wisconsin become the first open Lesbian in the Senate? Connecticut too has an interesting race with Linda McMahon (yes her from the wrestling) trying to win a seat and has spent a lot of her own money. It is highly unlikely that the Republicans will gain control of the senate, but will Democrats increase their control? Also will Maine elect independent candidate and former Governor Angus King?

In the House it is expected that the Republicans will retain control, but will Michelle Bachmann retain her seat in the Minnesota 6th? The Californian 30th, 31st and 44th  are also interesting thanks to redistricting and Open Primaries. The 30th sees two incumbent Democrats, Brad Sherman and Howard Berman battle it out. The 31st sees Republican Incumbent Gary Miller take on a Republican challenger Bob Dutton. While the 44th again sees two Democratic Incumbents Laura Richardson and Janice Hahn fight for a seat

In terms of ballot measures, four states are voting on Marriage Equality. Maine, Maryland and Washington are voting to allow Marriage Equality while Minnesota is voting on the definition of  Marriage (between a Man and a Woman).  Arkansas is voting on Medical Marijuana and Colorado, Oregan and Washington is voting on legalising it, while Montana is voting on banning Medical Marijuana. California is voting to ban the Death Penalty and to Increase Taxes to pay for education. Florida is voting to Limit Obamacare (as is Montana and Wyoming) and also on limiting public funds to abortion.

A long but interesting night ahead, and one which will show how Americans are moving on some interesting questions. Enjoy fellow elections nerds!

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The Count 2011!

 

DUBLIN, IRELAND - OCTOBER 03:  An election wor...
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Its all over. The candidates can lie in this morning as its now the turn of the political hacks who all across the country will be turning up to the count centres across the 43 constituencies to start tallying the Presidential Election.

The boxes will be opened at 9am when the votes will be sorted and tallied. Then the Votes for the presidential election will be sorted. Once sorted the votes will be counted and the result sent to Dublin. We wont have a first count result until all constituencies have reported. We then move on to the second count etc until a President is elected.

Once we have a President elected, the attention will then turn to the referendums. I am assuming they will do in numerical order with the 29th Amendment on Judges Pay (#JPREF) first followed by the 30th Amendment on Oireachtas Investigations (#OIREF).

After the referendum results have been announced the count in the Dublin West by-election will get under way and bring the counting to a close.

I myself will be in the Concert Hall in Cork City Hall helping out with the tallying in Cork South Central (#CSC) and Cork North Central (#CNC).

I will be posting updates on twitter! So keep an eye on the #aras11 and find your constituency tag here

The Election Moratorium

Broadcasting Authority of Ireland
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The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland have launched a
consultation on their  Broadcasting Code on Referenda and Election Coverage (PDF). While it contains all the usual stuff on fair and equal access and the ban on political advertisements, it also upholds the Moratorium as applied at the General Election earlier this year.

While reading through the draft code, I came upon an issue, should the same Moratorium be applied to Referenda and Elections?

In the case of elections I can see very little reason for a moratorium. People understand that they are choosing betweens parties and individuals and need as much information as possible and the Broadcast media is instrumental in providing this. We have also seen in other countries who do not have a moratorium, that very little changes on day before.

But should referenda be treated differently? Should we till have a full day moratorium so that people can reflect on all the information and not have to deal with spin (on bother sides). In the last few referenda we have seen misinformation on all sides, by allowing broadcast media to broadcast on the day before a referenda gives either side a chance to get out another miss-truth giving the other side little or no time to respond. By giving the full day before the polls opening, it can give people time to reflect on all the information.

What do you think?

Why Fingal’s nomination isn’t worth the paper its written on

Senator David Norris
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You may read in the papers and on the internet that Fingal County Council have nominated Senator David Norris for the Presidency. Unfortunately for Senator Norris, this nomination will not count towards the four he needs.

This is because the Election has not yet been called and therefore nominations cannot be made. This is covered under the Presidential Elections Act 1993.

Under Section 16 of the act a Council is given the right to nominate a candidate. The only check on this is under Section 16 (2) which states:

A resolution under this section shall not be passed before the date of the making of the presidential election order in respect of the presidential election to which the resolution relates and, subject to sections 30 and 31 , such a resolution shall not be rescinded.

The election will not commence until the Minister Environment, Community and Local Government issues the presidential election order.

So Fingal County Council will have to re-vote on this after the presidential election order is issued.

#SE11: Count 1 Tally Results.

Here are the first tally results for the Cultural and Education Panel:

1. Gilroy Lab 157
2. Byrne FF 129
3. O Murchu FF 105
4. Clune FG 103
5. Walsh FF 85
6. Mullins FG 77
7. McCartin FG 68
8. Ormonde FF 66
9. Tormey FG 49
10. Quinlan FG 47
11. Boyhan IND 44
12. Kennedy FG 32
13. Hogan FG 27
14. Irish FG 25
15. Quinn FG 23
16. Delaney FG 16
17. O’Dea FG 11

See previous post for the background. Still waiting on the official result.

Also, Molly Buckley (FG) is on the Admin Panel and not Cultural and Educational

Preparing for the Count

Election Poster

So tonight its all about the preparation for the tally tomorrow. I have to be in the concert hall in Cork City Hall.  I shall be doing the tally for Cork South Central but Cork North Central will be counted in the same hall. I will be trying to keep people updated on both counts on twitter. Keep an eye on the #tags #CNC and #CSC

Check out Mamanpoulet.com for more ways to follow the counts tomorrow.

Also there will be a first for a tally when the tally in Cork South Central will be updated online.

It may be a long day tomorrow, but let see what happens.

Also the RTÉ exit poll will be announced at 8am on Morning Ireland. That should give us an idea of how the counts will progress.

The Election Moratorium

A polling station sign in the Jersey general e...
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There have been a few questions asked about the Election Broadcasting Moratorium which is changing this year in comparison to previous elections. This year, broadcasters will be allowed to cover the election up until 2pm on Thursday.

From the BAI Guidance

Radio and television broadcasters shall observe a moratorium on coverage of an election. The moratorium will operate from 2pm on the day before the poll takes place and throughout the day of the poll itself until polling stations close.

Electioneering and/or references to election issues and/or references by any on-air personnel, (including guests) to the merits or otherwise of the election candidate(s) and their policies shall not be broadcast while the moratorium is in operation.

The Guidance goes on to note

  • The moratorium is not intended to preclude coverage during this period of legitimate news and current affairs stories that are unrelated to an election. However, broadcasters should avoid airing content (including breaking news stories) that the broadcaster believes is intended and/or likely to influence or manipulate voter decisions during the moratorium period.
  • Steps should be taken to ensure that overnight programme repeats scheduled during the moratorium do not contain material that would breach the moratorium. Broadcasters are advised to either edit programmes (if practical) or schedule an alternative programme so as to avoid accidental breaches of the moratorium.
  • Coverage of news items such as the opening hours of polling stations, voter turn-out, factual reports on voting by political party leaders and other representatives of electoral interests etc., is permissible once it complies with the moratorium.
  • Particular care should be taken around the opinions expressed by any programme contributors, during the period covered by the moratorium.The moratorium extends to all areas of programming including newspaper reviews, coverage of opinion polls, information announcements etc. Particular care is necessary when commenting upon or covering newspaper reviews as the print media is not subject to a moratorium.
It is important to also note the moratorium does not apply to websites or to on the ground canvassers. Canvassers are only banned from anywhere within 100m of a polling station on the day of the election so do not be surprised if a canvasser calls to your door on Thursday evening! 

UK Election in Videos

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

While procrastinating I cam across some really interesting youtube videos concerning the UK Election. So I decided to post a few of them.

First up is a viral from the Independent. I really like and points out the faults with all three parties.

The Truth Behind the UK Election

I also enjoyed Yahoo’s look at what people on the street think of the election.

Total Politics put together a video encouraging people to vote. Its a fun video, I recognised a few people but not all of them

To end, and thereby not endorse any of the Parties, Vote For A Change are encouraging people to vote for a Hung Parliament in this short video

Hang Parliament: Vote for a Hung Parliament in the 2010 UK Election

Have you seen any good election videos?

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UK Election 2010

Lib Dems logo
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I haven’t yet blogged about the general election in the UK. For me this has been one of the most interesting ones to watch. The rise of Liberal Democrats is amazing to see, and the polls are all over the place. The only thing for certain is that Labour will not win the popular vote.

That is where watching UK elections get boring. No matter haw much you play with swing calculators and polls the Lib Dems even if they win the popular vote, will not be forming the next government. They may form part of it, or support the next government through some sort of pact, but it will not be what they want.

Of course this puts the Lib Dems in the best position to ask for and get electoral reform. Labour are willing to give the Alternative Vote, but the Liberal Democrats want PRSTV like here in Ireland. Now how exciting would UK elections be then?

The Conservatives are holding there own in this election, but of course the rise of the Lib Dems has caught everyone. No one was prepared for that. They are down slightly in the polls, but still are in the lead.

The night of May 6th is going to be a very interesting night. There will be heads rolling from the cabinet on a good day for Labour. The Brown campaign isn’t going well, but good campaigning by good candidates will see them do well.

One of the seats I will be watching will be Brighton Pavillion as there the Green Party has one of its best chances to take a seat. Another one to watch will be Norwich North. I will of course be also hoping that Barking doesn’t go to the BNP.

This election could mark a change in UK Politics, for that reason alone I will be up all night on May 6th!

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