Now that the electorate has sent me back to spend more time with my blog here goes. The issue of the number of spoils came up with the three elections being blamed. However there may be a further issue not being discussed.
At the North Belfast tallies there was an interesting new phenomenon among the spoils from nationalist areas. There was a noticeable growth in the number of blank ballots. In subsequent conversations with members of other tally teams the same issue was spotted in other republican areas.
What is a likely explanation of this? No dissident grouping was advocating this approach (AFAIK). Sinn Fein have a reputation for being able to identify who hasn't voted during election day and getting them along to the polling station. It would appear some may be going along at their encouragement, taking their papers but not casting their vote. We are dealing with dozens possibly creeping over a into the low 100's in a single constituency but possibly worth adding into the discussion on spoils.