After an election, the shouting goes on for a good bit before eventually subsiding into a disgruntled mutter

It took a while. It always takes a while here.

After an election, the shouting goes on for a good bit before eventually subsiding into a disgruntled mutter

It’s all over, bar the shouting. And after an election, the shouting goes on for a good bit before eventually subsiding into a disgruntled mutter. It took a while. It always takes a while here. The British knew their result a few hours after but we were still leaning over railings in warehouses and Big Halls a week later.

That used to annoy me. “What is UP with our voting system? It’s soooo primitive.”

That was when the Single Transferrable Vote system and reports of tallies dominated the telly and led to the postponement of MacGyver. Or only left enough room in the schedule to play that substandard Hamilton the Musical Elephant cartoon.

This time around, a week and a half after the votes were cast, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In these days of alternative truth and every kind of fakery, it’s very comforting to have a load of people looking at a load of paper marked with a load of pencils.

You can’t hack a pencil mark.

I mean you could rub it out with an eraser but that’s hard with someone looking over the shoulder.

Until they invent nanobots with nano-pencils and nano-rubbers that crawl in the keyhole of a ballot box and somehow put a bit of graphite on another vote while rub it out on another, we should be safe enough. For another year anyway.

There have been allegations of voting fraud from some of the more Youtube-y candidates but proper official malfeasance in this country is usually done by people not bothering their hole.

Election fraud requires the kind of coordination that we could only dream of.

Paper voting feels so tangible and real. When you go in you feel yourself making a decision with your pencil. The hand dithers a bit as you decide whether to ‘go all the way down’ or ‘stop voting when the hating starts’. You try to remember whether it’s better to give a low preference or no preference to someone who wants Ireland to be kept only for those who can claim descent from druids. Or the person from the party whose members keep claiming compo.

And as the counting goes on you can imagine your little vote passing from hand to hand. You wonder are they puzzled that you gave your first preference to someone who believes all property is theft and your second preference to an auctioneer.

Maybe you’ve put in that just to puzzle the counter. Make them wonder why you would vote Green first and then transfer to someone who runs the Burn Diesel In A Barrel Challenge. The world will never know that your second preference was also a second cousin.

In a way we were lucky that e-voting here 15 years ago, was such a Nawful Hames.

Even though the scale/hilarity of the hames has been exceeded by … (deep breath) PPARs, the Guards’ Breathalysers, Irish Water, National Children’s Hospital, Broadband, Probably Fixing the ESB Oil Leaks, Probably A Tribunal on Direct Provision eventually, e-v-oting has a special place in our hearts.

The e-voting well was poisoned for many years because: A) it happened during the Celtic Tiger and so much of what happened then turned out to be fools’ gold (literally in your foundations); B) It was outlandishly awful. It cost €55 million and then made €70,0000 in scrap; C) It was Galway Tent, Bertie-vintage Fianna Fail.

So it doesn’t look like we’ll e-vote for a long time.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Who wants some Silicon Valley ‘disrupter’ selling a ‘cloud-based voting solution’?

We’d only end up with another tribunal anyway after it emerged we didn’t understand the Ts and Cs and now Votobot own the votes and are the president for life.

Why would we want the election speeded up anyway? It’s not as if there’s a bus driver waiting to take them to their first day’s work and he’s parked on a bad corner.

No, when all is said and done, the pencil is still mightier than the cloud.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

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