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Voting in NI

I was just watching the competition streamed from Irish television, for choosing Ireland's 2011 Eurovision entry. (It'll probably be another hour until voting's done.)

The most interesting thing about the songs recap was that it included instructions on how people in Northern Ireland could vote. That's a different country. Surely, they should be voting for the UK's entry, not Ireland's. Do they get to double-vote there?

P.S. Strongest entry won, squeaking victory by a smidgen over the other strongest entry: Jedward will be in the Eurovision semi-finals.

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( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
gillo
Feb. 11th, 2011 11:08 pm (UTC)
I have a feeling the Eire constitution does not recognise NI as part of the UK.
owlfish
Feb. 11th, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
That makes sense. And there are advantages to being able to vote early and often, especially when it's just Eurovision. :)

Edited to add: I think sbisson below has an even more likely answer: the voting zones aren't divided by country, but by broadcasting zones. I wonder if the internet holds a map which explains everything.

Edited at 2011-02-11 11:20 pm (UTC)
clanwilliam
Feb. 12th, 2011 01:08 am (UTC)
a) It's not Eire unless we're talking in Irish.

b) Ireland had a referendum quite a few years ago abolishing articles 2 and 3 of the constitution which claimed Northern Ireland. At the same time, Northern Ireland had a vote on the Belfast Agreement.

It was a painful choice for a lot of people, even those who felt that the claim was completely ridiculous - nonetheless, there was a 94% vote in favour of abolishing the claim. Similarly, I know people in Northern Ireland who wanted the Belfast Agreement to go through even though it was against everything they'd been brought up to believe - they either voted yes or abstained (including my sibling's in-laws, who couldn't bring themselves to vote "yes" but refused to vote "no") and the vote went through with 71% in favour. A huge swing, considering the political breakdown in NI.

In turn, people from Northern Ireland were able to claim citizenship of both the UK and Ireland and the UK undertook to treat Irish people living in the UK exactly the same as if they were UK citizens (which was pretty much the case anyway - I already had a parliamentary vote in the UK due to the reciprocal agreement, this merely solidified the agreement.

Ireland most definitely recognises Northern Ireland as part of the UK and has done so for well over a decade officially. Practically, it has done so since the late 1920s at the very least.
sbisson
Feb. 11th, 2011 11:16 pm (UTC)
As I understand it it's down to European Broadcasting Union regions,which treat NI and Eire the same. So NI doesn't vote on the UK entry, which is just England, Wales and Scotland.
owlfish
Feb. 11th, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC)
Ahh. Logistically, that makes perfect sense. Thank you.

I wonder what other regions are divided up that way, not along country lines, but broadcasting zones.
owlfish
Feb. 11th, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)
Also, I suspect the rules on how to choose the entry are far more lax than the rules on voting in the Eurovision semi-finals and finals - so the rules may vary that way too.

Edited: No, you're right the first time as you thought. NI votes with Ireland for the finals too.

Edited at 2011-02-11 11:30 pm (UTC)
clanwilliam
Feb. 12th, 2011 01:33 am (UTC)
Hang on, where are you getting this from? Just because RTE lets NI (and, by default the rest of the UK) vote in the Irish song contest, does not mean that NI votes as part of Ireland.

There may be history whereby NI also gets to vote in the Irish choice (and public choice is comparatively recent in Eurovision), but I cannot see how NI could possibly be excluded from the UK vote in turn. NI has the BBC as the state broadcaster, but Ireland (*not* Eire, unless we're having this conversation as Gaelige) has RTE as its state broadcaster.

RTE broadcasts reach NI. BBC Ulster broadcasts reach as far south as Wicklow on the old bandwidth, while BBC Wales reaches Wexford and Wicklow.

Even for something as comparatively unimportant as Eurovision, there would have been riots if it had been suggested that the majority of people in Northern Ireland were being excluded from the country they identified as theirs by the EBU.
owlfish
Feb. 12th, 2011 08:19 am (UTC)
Behold: why this was baffling me last night. It's still possible that NI gets two votes in Eurovision; that would also explain it.

Firstly: sbisson, above, wrote that NI is part of Ireland for European Broadcast Association purposes. (Although that did - and still - leaves me wondering about the BBC!)

Then, when I searched superficially online, I found a Wikipedia article or two telling me that NI votes with Ireland in Eurovision, or at least, has done so in specific recent years. (Obviously, this is in no way a conclusive source, but it was backing sbisson up.) Also, having a cluster of people from a given place doesn't mean a thing in terms of Eurovision representation, but there were three acts from NI competing for the Irish nomination two years ago.

Edited to add: None of this is at all definitive of course, and it could be that the article is wrong, and it's always true that the nomination vote in no way needs to map onto the rules for the "real" voting of Eurovision.

Edited at 2011-02-12 08:31 am (UTC)
perfectlyvague
Feb. 12th, 2011 12:36 am (UTC)
Anyone can vote for each country's representatives if you're that bothered - in fact some countries don't have a public vote for their representative/song, but during the actual Eurovision competition, you cannot vote for the country whose telephone exchange you are ringing from.
owlfish
Feb. 12th, 2011 12:40 am (UTC)
But that's not quite how it works for NI. The gist of this is that NI *cannot* vote for the UK's votes in the final. They have to contribute to Ireland's final votes.
perfectlyvague
Feb. 12th, 2011 12:55 am (UTC)
There appear to have been NI and Eire phone numbers for tonight's vote so UK people were voting as well.

As far as I can tell NI have to vote with the UK which is actually a bit of a cheat in terms of the not being able to vote for your own country thing (but I assume the smaller Eastern European countries have just the same swing due to someone from one country just living 10 miles down the road in another country) but as a result that means we vote disproportionately highly for Eire.
owlfish
Feb. 12th, 2011 08:39 am (UTC)
No, I was wrong: NI can - as is most logical! - vote for with the UK. But it looks like people living there may *also* be able to vote with Ireland.
perfectlyvague
Feb. 12th, 2011 12:57 am (UTC)
They're trying to put their own entry forward in 2012 so I assume this is a big issue for them.
clanwilliam
Feb. 12th, 2011 01:19 am (UTC)
Um, where are you getting this from? It would, apart from anything else, be against the BBC's charter to directly exclude a part of the UK from a UK-wide event.

Just because NI is allowed, by RTE and the Irish government, to vote in the Irish selection, does not mean that it is automatically barred by its own country.

The UK (and it does compete as "Royaume Uni", not "Grande Bretagne" in Eurovision) is not having a national song contest this year - Blue have been selected without any reference to the public.

Allowing NI to vote in the Irish national song contest is not the same as NI being allowed to exercise two votes in Eurovision itself.
owlfish
Feb. 12th, 2011 08:34 am (UTC)
Allowing NI to vote in the Irish national song contest is not the same as NI being allowed to exercise two votes in Eurovision itself.


I conflate. I meant that people living in NI could vote in two nations' song contests if this is true. Given how Eurovision works, any given person could vote dozens or hundreds of times in each.

Edited at 2011-02-12 08:35 am (UTC)
perfectlyvague
Feb. 12th, 2011 03:39 pm (UTC)
Nope - just had the answer back - NI can vote for Ireland in the final contest which means that their phone exchange treats them as UK voters.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )