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Irish FAQ: Politics [4/10]
Section - 4) What's special about elections in the Republic?

( Part00 - Part01 - Part02 - Part03 - Part04 - Part05 - Part06 - Part07 - Part08 - Part09 - Single Page )
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Top Document: Irish FAQ: Politics [4/10]
Previous Document: 3) Doesn't the Irish constitution lay claim to Northern Ireland?
Next Document: 5) What are the political parties in the Republic?
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	A slightly unusual form of proportional representation, known
	as the single transferable vote (STV), is used for elections
	to the Dáil.  There is more than one seat in a constituency
	and voters indicate their candidates in order of preference by
	putting a number next to their name on the ballot ("1" for the
	favourite candidate, "2" for the next favoured, etc.).

	A quota is established for each constituency when the votes
	are counted.  This quota is calculated as follows.

	Let V be the number of valid votes.
	Let S be the number of seats in the constituency.
	The quota Q is

	  V
	----- + 1
	 S+1


	If there were 60,000 votes in a three seat constituency the
	quota would be ((60000 / 4) + 1) = 15,001 votes.

	Counts are divided into rounds.  In the first round, all
	first preferences are counted.  At the end of each round, the
	votes to be counted during the next round are determined as
	follows

	- if one or more candidates receive the quota of votes they are
	deemed elected; the surplus votes of the most popular candidate
	are redistributed among the remaining (unelected) candidates
	according to the next preference

	- if no candidate has reached the quota, the candidate with
	the least number of votes is eliminated and his votes are
	redistributed among the remaining candidates according to the
	next preference

	Rounds are repeated until either all the seats are filled or the
	number of vacant seats equals the number of remaining candidates.
	In the latter case, the remaining candidates are deemed elected
	even though they got less than the quota of votes.

	If a candidate exceeds the quota on the first count, the excess
	votes are distributed in proportion to _all_ the votes for that
	candidate (i.e. the second preferences on all the ballots are
	counted).  The actual votes transferred are chosen at random
	(obviously making sure that they are for the appropriate
	candidate).

	On subsequent rounds, the votes are chosen at random _without_
	first counting all the next preferences.  Transferred votes are
	transferred again before first preferences.

	Because counting is a more complicated process than in most other
	countries, it takes longer.  Counting is not even started until
	the day after the election and can go on for days if candidates
	demand a recount.  Most political parties have experts, called
	tally men, who (using local knowledge and years of experience)
	try to predict early on in the count what the result is going
	to be.	A good tally man can tell the outcome to within a few
	hundred votes after only a few ballot boxes have been counted.

	The first-past-the-post system is used in Northern Ireland, except
	for elections to local councils and the European Parliament,
	when a slightly different form of proportional STV is used.


User Contributions:

Ivan Brookes
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Top Document: Irish FAQ: Politics [4/10]
Previous Document: 3) Doesn't the Irish constitution lay claim to Northern Ireland?
Next Document: 5) What are the political parties in the Republic?

Part00 - Part01 - Part02 - Part03 - Part04 - Part05 - Part06 - Part07 - Part08 - Part09 - Single Page

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM