There is an interesting quirk in the Irish electoral system that someone can run in more than one constituency in the same general election, and we’ve had a number of people avail of this for quixotic reasons (Noel O’Gara) or to advance a particular cause (Barbara Hyland).
But it could have another purpose, if say someone were to posit themselves as an Irish Martin Bell and run on a straightforward None of the Above (or get the effers out as someone suggested to me) platform. Given the apparently more general displeasure with politics and with the feeling aboard that it is politics itself that is flawed what might happen if None of the Above was actually on the ballot and how would you go about doing so.
Well, to answer the second question first in order to have None of the Above on the actual ballot you’d need to register as a party called “None of the Above” but that can be quite hard as registering a political party requires a certain number of members and a constitution and such like. An alternative for a one person band would be to change your name by Deed poll to “None of the Above” or more accurately, and in order to ensure that everyone else was going to be above you, the change should be to “X-None of the, Above”.
What might be the outcome of such a run, especially if they running to screw things up? Well, it’s hard to say given that there is no precedent for someone getting elected on more than one place in under the 1937 constitution. But it is almost certain they would be able to only take up one seat and the others won would be then deemed vacant. But only after the counts were all concluded. So any new Dail would be down the number of extra seats they won. It would be one rather instant way to reduce the size of the Dáil. New By-elections couldn’t be held onto the writs were moved by the new Dáil.
In part I was given to wonder about this after reading about a book called ‘Seeing’ by José Saramago which is a sequel to the book that the recent movie Blindness with Julianne Moore is based on. ‘Seeing’ begins with a parliamentary election in which the majority of the populace casts blank ballots.