When we walk into the polling station on Saturday 8th February we will come face to face with our electoral system in all its glory. Known formally as proportional representation by way of a single transferable vote (or PR-STV for short), it is a sophisticated system that aims to match the seats available to the preference of voters. It gives us choice between political parties, and because there is more than one seat in each constituency we also have choice between candidates from the same party, and we can even disregard parties altogether. This often leads to a long list of candidates on a ballot paper and we are required to rank them in order of preference. In this She Speaks post, we look at mechanisms of how PR-STV actually works, and wonder should we vote the whole way down the paper.
Who doesn’t love an election! Even though the focus of SHE is firmly on the local elections, we are keenly watching the build up to this general election. Adrian Kavanagh of Maynooth University, who is fast becoming a national treasure among election aficionados tells us that we currently have 531 officially selected/declared General Election 2020 candidates (details at https://adriankavanaghelections.org as the picture changes and as Adrian points out elsewhere, independents can be hard to account for). And in somewhat encouraging news for SHE, 162 of them are women (30.5%). If even 1/4 of them are successful then the representation of men and women in Dáil Éireann would take another important step forward towards parity. However it is unlikely that those extra women will be representing rural constituencies. In Dublin, the percentage of women candidates is higher but in rural Ireland the picture is less than delightful.