And just like that it's over. The election was today and the polls closed about 15 minutes ago. Who won? Who knows? They don't start counting the votes until the morning.
It's been a long time since I voted in America. The last election I can remember clearly was Dinkins vs Giuliani I. By the time they made the sequel I was living here and ineligible to vote. Anyway, that's 20 years ago, but I remember going into the booth and pulling the little levers and walking out about 20 seconds later. That's not how it works here.
We have proportional representation here. How does it work? Well, roughly, you write a 1 in the box next to your favored candidate and a 2 next to your second favorite and carry on that way. (You can get the full picture here.) I love the whole paper and pencil feel to it. So 19th-century-town-hallish, if you know what I mean.
Today we voted for three representative bodies that - as far as I can tell - have very little power or impact on my life. I voted for town council, county council and European Parliament. All of those have some minor powers, but the local councils have little power compared with the unelected county manager and the European Parliament has virtually no power when compared with the European Commission and the even more powerful European Council (all the various heads of the member states).
By this time tomorrow we'll know who won the local elections, but I don't think they're counting the European votes until Monday. I think they're waiting until every country has voted. Most are voting on Sunday.
Why Martin McGuinness will be remembered for hundreds of years to come