Taoiseach suggests electronic ballot counters in the wake of the Ireland South recount

Taoiseach suggests electronic ballot counters in the wake of the Ireland South recount
Some of the ballot papers at the Ireland South count centre in Nemo Rangers. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Ireland should follow Scotland's lead and use electronic machines to count ballots.

It follows the lengthy Ireland South count at Nemo Rangers followed by a recount that ended today, 12 days after the election.

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada conceded defeat after the recount had begun on Tuesday with the remainder of the count being completed today with the election of the Green Party's Grace O'Sullivan and Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune relegated to the fifth position and can only take up her seat if the Brexit occurs.

The Ireland South ballot paper featured 20 candidates. Picture: Howard Crowdy
The Ireland South ballot paper featured 20 candidates. Picture: Howard Crowdy

However, the full recount had the potential to last weeks and has led to calls for Ireland to reconsider the use of humans to physically count each ballot considering the long Ireland South ballot had 20 candidates.

Speaking in the Dáil, the Taoiseach said that while he would not be in favour of a return of the infamous e-voting machines, Ireland should look at electronic counting machines that would scan the ballots.

"I had a good discussion with Ms Nicola Sturgeon when she was in town in recent days. The Scottish use Single Transferable Vote for some of their elections as we do," he said.

Count Staff seen opening up the long European Election Ballot Papers during the recent Count in Nemo Rangers GAA Sports Centre. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Count Staff seen opening up the long European Election Ballot Papers during the recent Count in Nemo Rangers GAA Sports Centre. Picture: Howard Crowdy

"They do not use electronic voting, but they do use electronic counting. They have machines that one just feeds the ballot papers into. They are glass and one can see what is going on. They are able to count their votes in a matter of hours whereas we could still be counting votes down in Cork City Hall in a few days' time. While I would never go for electronic voting again, maybe we should think about electronic counting. Perhaps we could borrow the machines from Scotland every now and then."

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