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Irish election: Spoiled ballots and lost rings among sights at count centres

Spoiled ballot Image copyright Sorcha Ní Mhonacháin - Twitter
Image caption One voter spoiled his ballot in an unusual manner and voted for world featherweight champion UFC fighter Conor McGregor

Election counts are often long and arduous, but in between hours of waiting for the results of the Republic of Ireland's general election, there have been some amusing sights at the count centres.

In County Wicklow, count staff came to the rescue of a woman who lost her eternity ring while voting.

As the Irish Times reported, the silver eternity ring slipped off her finger as she voted at Templerainey National School on Friday evening.

Image copyright Irish Times - Twitter
Image caption Count officer Jacqueline Donnelly said staff were able to help out a voter who lost her eternity ring in one of the Wicklow ballot boxes

The presiding officer at the count, Jacqueline Donnelly, told the newspaper that the diamond-studded ring was found on Saturday as ballot staff opened boxes and spotted something sparkling.

She said the woman had been "a bit embarrassed at the time", but that staff took her phone number and called her to give her the good news of its reappearance.

Meanwhile, one person swapped the Oscars in Hollywood for a count centre in County Cavan in order to support a politician.

Eamon Farrell, the brother of actor Colin Farrell, had a ticket for the star-studded ceremony but decided instead to travel to the count centre in order to show his backing to Arts Minister Heather Humphries.

Creative voters

Despite millions of votes being cast in the election, there were plenty of rejected ballot papers too - and some people got creative with their attempts to spoil their votes.

One voter in the Dublin West constituency decided not to vote for any of the official candidates.

Instead they opted to create their own - making the world featherweight champion UFC fighter, and Dubliner, Conor McGregor their number one.

Ballot protest?

The problem of spoiled votes led to delays in the first counts being announced in several of the constituencies, including Donegal, Sligo-Leitrim and Cavan-Monaghan.

This year saw the start of newly-implemented boundary changes to a number of constituencies in the Republic of Ireland.

The boundary redrawing meant West Cavan, which was previously in the Cavan-Monaghan constituency, moved into Sligo-Leitrim.

Image copyright The Anglo-Celt newspaper
Image caption Some West Cavan voters, unhappy at being moved into the Sligo-Leitrim constituency, took to an apparent protest at the ballot box

However, the Anglo-Celt newspaper reported that some voters had taken to an apparent protest against the changes.

They spoiled their ballot papers by writing 'I live in Cavan' the whole way down the column where voters are supposed to write their preferences.

Counting is expected to continue over the weekend, but no doubt there will be plenty more amusing and strange sights at the count centres before the event is over.

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