Almost 23.00 hours.
One News just finished and now they are streaming images from the “counting hall”. It’s surreal. The nation’s obsession with vote counting is back again. There are less votes in that box than there would be in a normal election for student representatives. The room is teeming with cameras, men strutting around with badges and double-badges and a sense of excessive bureaucracy that only the MLPN can offer. A guy in a brown t-shirt struts around the room looking deep in thought, eyebrows raised. When he notices the cameras he begins to strike the same poses we are used to see from behind the perspex in Naxxar. Something about all this is so off-putting.
I’m giving up on time indications. Oh ok it’s 22:58 in the Duchy. Somewhere in Hamrun a man dressed up in sombre grey suit gives the final visual instructions. No sound. His suit looks one size too big. Is he conducting an orchestra? Will this be Labour’s Ode to Joy? Looks like each vote will be triple checked. The man in black handles papers like a magician – prestidigitalism. He’s even got the bureaucrats polite cough – more for the show than out of real guttural irritation. Il Padrino makes a sudden appearance (black shirt, white hair). There’s something about all this that tell’s me, or rather makes me hope, that it is the last time we are seeing this kind of scenes. The kitsch atmosphere, the outdated “ufficjali”, the corny music, the brown “Krea” pigeon holes. I wonder how many of the people in this room have ever handled a blackberry.
This could be the Kazin tal-Banda electing the new President – this is where they all want to be – the Labour party that we hope is on the way out… a place among the hob-nobbing crowd of the HQ, a place where to show off the choker and a second chance to wear the “qmis tal-festa”. This may sound snobbish – it probably is – but party politics is no place for this kind of crowd either. As cameras flash on the perspex boxes and the Magician does another round of pointing at people I cannot help but remember Alfred Mifsud’s words – doom or rebirth- that’s what it is all about. Have the delegates got it right this time round?
Here’s what I think. If we had the counters behind the perspex we would probably have a tentative projection after the first twenty votes. Experience at KSU elections showed that the first fifty votes gave a more than definite answer. We obviously will not have none of that election-time magic so we have to count on the counting efficiency of the Magician and his team. (The guy is really really aware of being on camera). We’re in for a big moment – Gozo box will be mixed with the Malta box. They will then turn all the votes face down and check for the two stamps. Estimated time (j’accuse estimate) fourty minutes.
So as I was saying – we do not have the magic of the projection. So we have to wait for all the phases to be over. Let us imagine that three people will check each vote and that it takes them ten seconds in total to verify who that vote was for. That should be six votes a minute. About two hours work. Obviously I am exaggerating and crossing my fingers that there is more than one team of three. With two teams it’s down to one hour. With three we’re talking fourty minutes. In my hypothetical example (heavy with approximative maths and assumptions) we should have an answer in around ninety minutes. That’s all just hypothesis and speculation as I watch three grown up men battle with aluminium and perspex with the importance and care of a bomb disposal unit.
Cinderella – The Princess will be Announced before Midnight
Damn I spoke too soon. Maltastar has announced that the result is expected to be out before midnight. There must be many groups of three then. 🙂 Please don’t take these calculations of mine seriously… I’m just filling time here. Just heard the guy say that they have to count all the votes to make sure that there are the same number as votes cast. I have no future as a guesser of electoral processes. It seems that the vote counting process (of the stamps) takes 10 minutes.
Not the Democrat Convention
Don’t expect the fireworks. Don’t expect the large convention hall. Don’t expect a moving speech of great oratory skill. Expect the kerchiefs. Expect the “Ghax ghandna lil (Insert Name of Winning Candidate Here) Maghna” chant. It’s change. But not just yet.
10 minutes have gone by
23:27. Votes verified. Now to count them and then divide them into packets of 50 (or part thereof). Little scare chez jaccuse as the stream frame froze. Amount of votes given out 879 and is equal to votes placed in boxes (879 duh). So now they will start turning the votes face up and sorting the votes. Magician explains clearly and concisely. With a “ssshhh” here and a direct explanation there he will soon give the go ahead.
Up Close and Personal
First camera shot had fixed on some pigeon holes showing the inevitable filling of some Abela and Muscat holes. Not kosher. Quickly moved away to a corner where we could not tell where the votes were going. So much for the count. Luckily Abela’s votes go to an upper part of the box and it is easy to tell. Pity the stream has started to block. Any alternative sites for streaming anyone?
J’accusers on the Guessing Game
The freeze frames do not allow me to hazard a guess. Fek claims it is clear that Muscat is leader. I’ve seen substantial amounts going to Abela’s pile so I’m not so sure – then again it might be a coincidence that the stream gets blocked when a pile of votes is going to the Abela garzella. Sorting is finished. They will collect the”dubious” votes. Once that is over we can then move to seeing which are the valid, invalid, and abstention votes. (Did you see the bald hitman in the corner?)
5 doubtful Votes – All 5 invalid. That’s one for each candidate. Hmmm Conspiracy theory – a gentleman agreement to invalidate their votes. The the truth hits you in the face like a fly swatter – George Abela had no vote – invalidation by delegation? God… this is worse than the Eurovision.
874 valid votes. 437 is 50% – 438 is the quota for deciding who is the next Labour leader. Now they are counting. Abela’s start being counted. It’s happening faster than I thought it would. Streaming is really blocked – I’m counting on you guys to keep me updated. Please comment on any result immediately! Picture is gone – all I have is the sound and frankly the I’ve had it up to here with this pan-pipe electro funk.
Starting new post. The final countdown. Ironic isn’t it?