2019-20 Local elections still dodgy
Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Irish News of 8th May.  

Our elections still fail to come up to international standards.  Many officials are doing a fine job; it is the rules which are at fault.
Firstly, many polling stations are not neutral; instead, party posters etc. dominate the nearby lamp posts.  In other democracies, nothing is allowed within, say, 100 metres.
Secondly, voters are sometimes confronted by a gauntlet of party activists handing out leaflets and ‘instructions’, (and many of these leaflets then litter the otherwise neutral polling rooms).  In many other countries, no political campaigning is allowed on polling day.
Thirdly, the ballot paper is not anonymous; there’s a number on the back of the ballot and the vote of any one individual can be traced.  Elsewhere, once the ballot paper is separated from its stub, it is totally anonymous.  
And fourthly, polling agents should be enabled to observe the voting process in the round; they should not be enabled to obtain the identity of every individual voter.  Indeed, the idea that Slobodan Milošević should be able to know whether or not certain persons have voted is quite distasteful; so too here.  It seems, however, that Sinn Féin (and maybe other) polling agents are interested only in amassing data for their future party political campaigning.



Article originally appeared on The de Borda Institute (http://www.deborda.org/).
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