Spoiling For A Vote


This morning.

Gemma O’Doherty joined us live to discuss receiving ‘votes’ across the country during the Presidential Election count and the birth of a new anti-corruption grassroots movement.

The interview can be viewed in its entirety above.

Up to 100 spoiled votes in Donegal for journalist Gemma O’Doherty (Donegal Democrat)

Previously: Broadsheet on the Telly

52 thoughts on “Spoiling For A Vote

  1. Bertie blenkinsop

    That explains the tweet going round saying Gavin Duffy beat the spoiled vote count in Donegal by 13 votes so….

  2. ReproButina

    Other names written in on ballot papers in Dublin included Donald Trump, Bertie Ahern and Jim Gavin.

  3. Smith

    Spoiling a vote is really stupid, and Gemma should not be endorsing it. Contributes to people like Casey getting a higher percentage of the vote.

    1. Yep

      No. It’s not stupid. It has been a form of protest ever since people have had the opportunity to do it and we are all entitled to do it if we wish to. What is stupid is considering a handful of spoiled votes more of a worrying contribution to his percentage than the people who actually fupping voted for him.

    2. Cian

      I disagree. 56% of the electorate didn’t vote. We don’t know why. They may have been busy. Or not care. Or not like any candidates.

      If it was the latter, and they all came out to vote, and spoiled their votes it would have been a major upset. Imagine if more people spoiled their vote then voted for MDH? It wouldn’t change the outcome – but their voice would have been heard.

      1. Cú Chulainn

        Because MDH was always going to win. The only reason the turnout was as high was because lots of people knew that knacker Casey would get votes and they trundled down to scratch the ballot.

        1. Topsy

          I presume your reference to Casey as a “knacker” was intended as an insult.
          So what’s your opinion of travellers then as the common lingo for travellers is also “knacker”

  4. Eoin

    18,438 votes (1.24%) spoiled in #Aras18 compared with 18,676 (1.04%, there was a far higher turnout then) spoiled in 2011. It’s a tiny absolute % increase but it’s 20% in relative terms.
    Gemma should have been on the ballot paper. If you dislike what she says then the best inquisitors/presenters in the country would have scrutinised her with prepared questions and follow-ups, plus she would have had to defend herself against the other candidates. Shame on the 14 county councils which decided to veto any candidate going forward. And for that matter, so what if Bunty made it also, isn’t the Monster Raving Looney Party a staple of one of the oldest democracies in the world.

    1. rotide

      “Gemma should have been on the ballot paper.”


      Apart from ‘because i wanted here there’, there is zero reason for her to have been on the paper. She was incapable of persuading a majority of broadsheet commenters she should be on the paper, nevermind actual county councillors.

      1. shortforBob

        She’s lucky she didn’t get nominated, she wouldn’t have gotten enough votes to get any reimbursement and it would have cost her a small fortune.

      2. Ron

        she didn’t persuade Broadsheet commenter ha ha… Cop yourself on and stop deluding yourself that what you have to say actually has an impact anywhere. You are deluded. All your previous posts make sense now ha ha. thanks for the laugh

        1. rotide

          I don’t think anything that’s said here has much impact anywhere.

          What I’m saying is that this is basically the only place she got any coverage at ALL and she failed to swing a majority of people.

          1. SOQ

            I disagree. I myself have seen terms used here repeated in certain newspapers.

            Apart from the trolls who clearly have their own censorship agenda, you will find that most commentators here are well thought out in their opinions and respectful of others, which is a vast improvement on some other sites.

            As for Gemma, she may be a bit of a lose cannon but she is the real deal and had as much right to run as three friggen dragons. But she frightened some people because her even being on that podium would have changed the dynamic of the race.

          2. Johnny Keenan

            That’s exactly it SOQ. We had the opportunity to shake the election up and Gemma would have argued her case with facts. The only problem for the establishment was that all her facts and questions would have been directed at the elite.
            So the establishment parties made sure that democracy wasn’t to be served. So they colluded to corrupt the vote in Councils.
            If O’Doherty had the opportunity to be voted for by the people she would certainly have got a large percentage of the anti establishment vote.
            These are just facts folks. Not opinions.

          3. Cian

            Facts need to be backed by evidence.
            You provided none.

            You are even saying things like “she would certainly have got a large percentage of the anti establishment vote.” which is as far from fact as you can get.

            Press provide evidence. Or stop trolling.

          4. Johnny Keenan

            Follow Gemma O’Doherty on line Cian. You’ll see the support she has. That would have certainly transferred into votes if the politicians weren’t so corrupt and even making sure that democracy wasn’t served for the people that demanded it. If you don’t want to live in a democracy I suggest you head off some where else. I want to live in a democracy and I see people like Gemma O’Doherty as people to listen to. and not to ridicule. be part of the change you want your country to be. Ya either want to end corruption now or you don’t.

          5. Cian

            No facts.
            23K followers. If they all voted for her. She still would have come seventh.

            So. Once more. Any evidence for your claims?

          6. Johnny Keenan

            No I mean look at the amount retweets and shares her post have had and compare it to all her CONtemporaries.
            Anyone can get followers but if someone shares your ideas concerns and criticism it means they are interested in what you are saying. Even though RTE and INM and agenda based media are keeping her quite. She doesn’t need bigotry or racism to get attention. She has what open minded concerned citizens want to hear. Facts about the establishment.
            Just do some research bro.

      3. Johnny Keenan

        rotide we’ve been through this ad nauseam. It was proven beyond doubt that the councils colluded together to corrupt voting in relation to slaughtering democracy for the people. It was very clear to these redneck racists that someone like Gemma O’Doherty would sort all these wasters out. So they got their own yes men in instead.
        Racists and bigots who didn’t call them out but called out a minority group instead for all the corruption.
        rotide it’s important a forum like this has opinions such as yours. We need to listen to other opinions if we are to understand where people’s concerns are coming from. However that’s no reason to make statements thinking people don’t know exactly how O’Doherty was treated in councils 2 months a go. She’s been vindicated now. Can you at least acknowledge that and move on to blaming everyone else now. Apart from the civil servants and neo liberal political parties, obvs!

        1. Cian

          Where is the evidence the councils colluded together to corrupt voting in relation to slaughtering democracy for the people?

          When was she vindicated? What was she vindicated from?

          1. SOQ

            Cian, she WAS treated badly. How could three dragons get on the ballot without a blink and yet someone of Gemma’s calibre could not? Even on here the most irrelevant details were argued as major issues.

            This was not the councils electing the president, this was the councils blocking someone from running. No matter what way you look at it, what happened stinks to the high heavens.

          2. Rob_G


            – she threatened libel against one councillor from one CC over some Twitter exchange
            – she made a similar threat to another councillor, from a different CC, during the actual proceedings
            – she had to be told off for having one of her supporters recording the proceedings (in contravention of council rules)

            As you said, the CCs proved themselves quite amenable to nominate some of the more outsider candidates, but I can see how they may have been less than impressed by the manner in which she went courting their endorsement.

  5. rotide

    Seriously? This is completely stupid.

    Dustin recieved more votes than Austin Currie in 2 dublin consituienties in 1990, you might as well do a video interview with him to discuss that as with gemma.

  6. rotide

    I had to turn this off after 3 minutes.

    MDH recieved the most first perference votes of any presidential candidate EVER.

    This is because, people in the main understand that the First Citizen is a ceremonial role and he performs that role well. People are not being bamboozled by the MSM into voting for austerity which is what Gemma is out and out stating.

    She’s a crank and this is why her presidential bid failed so utterly.

    1. Cian

      I feel a bit sorry for her. She is no worse than 3 of the eventual candidates – and arguable better.
      Saying that. She dodged a bullet. If she had got on the ballot MDH would still have won – and she’d be looking at a huge Bill for posters etc like 4 of the other candidates.

    2. anne

      Ever, ever?

      Turn out was 44% approx. He received roughly half of that. Nothing to be shouting from the rooftops really.

      Casey received 23% of the 44%, about 10% overall.
      Hardly huge either.

  7. JD

    She has done some great work, been harshly treated yet at times does herself fierce damage e.g. conspiracy about Veronica Guerin being killed by the state.

  8. Ron

    FEWER THAN HALF a million people voted in this presidential election, making it the lowest turnout in the history of the State.

    But yet the media and old age pensioners on this comments section would have you believe MDH has the biggest mandate in the History of mandates. pmsl

    1. edalicious

      Unless I’m reading you wrong, your figure of <500k is absolutely miles off the mark. More than that many people voted for MDH alone.

  9. john f

    I appreciate her sentiments and agree there is something wrong with corruption and mismanagement in this country. However what she is calling for is a dangerous thing. She wants people to actively take charge of their destiny……. I can agree with this up of to a point. However what happens when contentious decisions have to be made……. and you have a lot of different stakeholders with different desires and outcomes, somebody is going to lose out, somebody’s going to gain. In the situation that she has outlined nothing happens, nothing gets done.
    There was a different media publisher I was listening to a few years ago, likely he started discussing the waking up concept ………. I’m paraphrasing but he said something along the lines that the imbecile who gets excited over getting the next iPhone, has huge long-lasting emotional swings over a sporting contest he has no involvement in, goes online looking for petitions to sign regarding homelessness et cetera but will not take half the time to help the homeless person down the street.etc. etc. back person would be dangerous if they ever woke up.

  10. Vanessa off the Telly

    While this is the 1st election in a long while where I wasn’t present at any count centre, and for family reasons I was unable to be at Dublin Castle for the finale, I hope ye don’t mind me butting in on this.

    Count centres are open to the public, anyone can ask for a ticket, anyone. Most Centres don’t require them, although bigger ones with several constituencies on the tables, like Citywest, are a bit stricter, however staff or any of the Candidates will organise access if you are outside looking to gain entry.

    Anyone can witness the opening of the boxes. In fact anyone can apply for the job, and it’s paid.

    Anyone can tally. Anyone. And I’m happy to show ye how to keep an accurate tally from a process that has worked for decades and is accurate, efficient and foolproof.

    At count centres everywhere, Parties and individual Candidates set up tables, and information collected from their own tallies and from other updates from teams around the Country is always made available to Anyone who asks. (Most of the time)

    The larger parties are the ones with the Hardwear and the nerdy collators. These are usually behind barriers. But only to maintain some order while numbers are being totted, called and entered into the Polling software .

    It can be chaotic in multi constituency counts, lads talking over each other, 100s of sheets of paper from the clip boards, and getting the accurate count from the identified polling booth and polling station per Candidate.

    But they are usually, and in my experience, fully visible and audible, for Anyone to witness. Again in my experience, there are always plenty of onlookers at this part of the Tally, and they have never been denied information.

    In my experience the only time a Returning Officer interfered with this most unique part of our Democratic process here in Ireland was in the last GE. She requested that no leaks to the press be made by any party until she called it herself, and that she didn’t want any yelling and hooping and hollering until that official call. And it was only in place for the 1st count.

    And it was all done out in the open. No backrooms or voting pacts.

    Why am I telling ye this when this is all open knowledge for anyone who has actually witnessed all this? Because Spoiled and Uncertain Votes are all, one by one, presented in front of all of the Candidates and or their representatives, and anyone else that’s bothered.

    The announcement is made, everyone in the Count Centre is well aware of it. And the assembly takes place – usually around a long table.

    They agree between ALL of them whether to treat the vote as spoiled or if it was a vote for Candidate A.
    Like, say, if someone put an X for Joan Freeman instead of a 1, and there were no other boxes marked, her reps would have argued for that vote to be counted.
    Also votes with no polling booth authentication punch are presented, and agreed – fake or spoiled or a genuine vote

    It is all done in public sight, and by Christ is it a sight. There can be killings around that table. A Dublin Constituency in the last GE was like a cage fight, and it went on for hours. But they all came away with a handful of votes, but less than Dustin the Turkey and Conner McGregor.
    Btw, fake ballots is a bit more common than you think.

    So as to how many of those votes were marked Gemma O’Doherty isnt a matter of speculation. It could have been accurately and authenticatically captured on Saturday by Gemma and her Supporters around the country directly from the count centres

    Therefore it might be worth writing to the various Count Centre Returning Officers and requesting an appointment to view them yourselves if you didn’t take the opportunity I outlined above.

    Likewise with the the bigger Campaigns, like Micheal D’s or the Shinners, I have no doubt they had people around every single one of those Spoiled and Uncertain vote tables, and they would have definitely kept a record.

    Count Centres are the one place you will find democracy demonstrated at its finest, and they deserved this post.

  11. Sham Bob

    To me, her analysis in that video is shallow, contradictory, and self-serving. She says she never endorsed a candidate because it wouldn’t be fair but yet she is disappointed that so many people voted for Michael D. We were supposed to glean her preferred candidate psychically. She put the Casey vote down to anti-establishment feeling, and denied that many Irish people have a problem with travellers, apart from the media and Gardai. His vote was a response to censorship which is now being added to her list of major crises facing the country. However she rejected Casey as an independent voice mid-interview when told he was thinking of running for FF. Michael D’s ‘apathetic’ voters gave a ringing endorsement of austerity apparently, even though none of the candidates ran on a particularly anti-austerity platform. Arguably, as SF opposed government policy in the last 10 years their candidate would have been the true anti-austerity vote but Ni Riadha doesn’t get a mention. In her plans to save the country, the parties of the ‘hard’ left are totally excoriated because they didn’t endorse her, and didn’t run a candidate. Soc Dems are discounted because they endorsed Michael D. How can they say they’re on the side of the poor?! Everything that doesn’t fit her narrative is twisted round, anyone who doesn’t share her exact world view is no good.

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