back to article Election Excel blunder declared a 'low point' for Austrian social democracy

To Austria now, where the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) has shown that Excel blunders can have severely career-limiting effects. The center-left group ran the election for its new leader over the weekend, a closely run affair between Burgenland governor Hans Peter Doskozil and Traiskirchen mayor Andreas Babler. Some 600 …

  1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    Those that can do ....

    .... those that can't change the result afterward!

  2. Dave@Home

    600 votes

    And someone manged to fk up =Countif (A1:A600, "Babler")

    1. keithpeter Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: 600 votes

      There is a lot to be said for ticking a box and putting the folded paper in a tin box.

      I'm assuming this had to be done online or something.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: 600 votes

        Even when you do that there'll be someone, somewhere who'll want to put the counts for each box into a spreadsheet to add them up.

        1. OhForF' Silver badge

          Re: 600 votes

          It is exactly what happened. They voted on paper and started a manual count, no online forms or automatization involved.

          By now they even did re-count multiple times and claim it was correct all the times, the mistake only happened when someone insinsted entering the counts into an excel sheet as adding up the numbers on paper is too complicated and error prone...

          The austrian comedians hang their head in shame and have to acknowledge the social democrats are far superiour doing political satire.

          Radio stations have a field day demonstrating that kids in elementary school can add up those same numbers.

          The 20 people strong election comitee so far failed to explain why none of them spotted the error when allegedly checking the results.

    2. Binraider Silver badge

      Re: 600 votes

      You're making the mistake that people that say they know excel, actually do.

      But then job adverts at 20k ask for "expert" excel, when our definitions of expert range from "can load a file" to "writes their own macros without stackoverflow".

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: 600 votes

        @Binraider

        An "Excel Expert" is one who avoids using it most of the time.

        There are very few tasks* where Excel is the best** tool for the job.

        * I'm being generous & guessing there may be types of task I'm unaware of where Excel is the best thing to use.

        ** Best is not the same as easy to use / readily available etc. which is the main reason for Excels popularity.

  3. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    We wish it were true

    "Those who cannot organize elections will also not win them."

    The problem with this statement is that _none_ of the candidates could organize a bake sale, yet _one_ of them will win the election.

    1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      Re: We wish it were true

      Uncle Joe, and many like-minded politicians, have organised elections very successfully. As the old proverb puts it, those who count the elections win them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We wish it were true

        The world is a complicated place. With a complicated history. You got an upvote, probably from someone who knows that Uncle Joe was a nickname for Joseph Stalin. You got a downvote probably from someone thinking the Joe referenced was Biden. Sigh.

        The world currently seems to think that 'now' is the only 'moment'. I suppose that's a repeat of history... or something?

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: We wish it were true

          The downvote could also be from someone who knows that there's no evidence Stalin ever said it.

          1. veti Silver badge

            Re: We wish it were true

            There's reasonable evidence that he said something like it. Allowing for vagaries of translation, the sentiment was definitely there in 1923.

  4. Derezed
    FAIL

    We need to look closer to home for a real low point.

    Namely the Lancashire town of Nelson.

    Patricia Hannah-Wood was named the winner but...er...she didn't win...the wrong name was announced. The Tory Julie Green expected Pat to step down (since she had lost), but Pat is not for turning! Win or not, she's got her seat and it's her constituents' problem! ...local democracy in action! Your vote really does matter...unless it doesn't.

    I guess there's no IT angle to this shit show though.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Well that approach almost worked for Trump...

      1. seldom

        It did work for Dubbya.

    2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Pre-Election De-Seating

      Democracies need to have a pre-election de-seating procedure to avoid this problem. X days before the voting begins, the incumbent is de-seated. All their office-related keys, safe combinations, access codes, keycards, badges, passwords, etc. are turned over to the Office of Transitions. The OoT changes the locks* ('cause the incumbent may have made a copy), changes the passwords, invalidates the keycards, disables the accounts (be scrupulously careful with nuclear launch codes and such), etc. and the incumbent is escorted from their office, the office is locked behind them, and the incumbent is denied re-entry until after they have won the election, if they have won the election.

      A country can easily survive for a month without a prime minister, president, or what-have-you, despite said officeholders' strong opinions to the contrary.

      *This includes all locks to doors leading to the incumbent's office -- including side-doors from secretaries' and other assistants' offices.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Pre-Election De-Seating

        > A country can easily survive for a month without a prime minister, president, or what-have-you, despite said officeholders' strong opinions to the contrary.

        As I recall, a few years ago Belgium survived for a lot longer than that without any government at all. As the bins were still being emptied and public services were still running, the population totally failed to rise up in a frenzy of under-politician’ed panic.

        The only reason a government was finally and sheepishly formed was because the politicians began to worry about how little their presence was missed by the masses.

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Pre-Election De-Seating

          As I recall, a few years ago Belgium survived for a lot longer than that without any government at all. As the bins were still being emptied and public services were still running, the population totally failed to rise up in a frenzy of under-politician’ed panic.

          Basically, 'shit happens', and people who deal with it are usually undervalued until ...

          https://untappedcities.com/2015/02/11/today-in-nyc-history-the-great-garbage-strike-of-1968/#

          Then they are paid what they are worth.

          1. CowHorseFrog

            Re: Pre-Election De-Seating

            Typical American, always have to change the subject to look at me.

      2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Pre-Election De-Seating

        Do you really believe that the British Establishment is capable of managing anything as complicated as changing locks, passwords, and disabling user accounts in such a way that they can be re-enabled and the keys provided to the 'duly elected' personages?

        Do you have shares in ASSA, Chubb or some other manufacturer of security hardware?

        There was even a 'Yes, Prime Minister' episode about having keys to the door between the Cabinet Office and No. 10 (SPOILER ALERT: it turned out that Sir Humphrey had his own key and was mightily pee-d off wheat the lock was changed and Bernard Woolley insisted that he hold all of the keys).

        https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0751838/

        1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re-Keying the Locks

          1. Disclaimer: I have no financial interests in any manufacturer of security hardware.

          2. Re-keying mechanical locks does not require that the locks themselves be replaced; just the pins (little solid brass tubes), and a locksmith's time.

          3. Changing the combination on a safe requires ... I don't know what, beyond a locksmith's time.

          4. Disabling/changing passwords on accounts and electronic badge-readers requires just standard IT-level clickety-clickety, and a techie's time.

          Do you really believe that the British Establishment is capable of managing anything as complicated as changing locks, passwords, and disabling user accounts in such a way that they can be re-enabled and the keys provided to the 'duly elected' personages?

          Uhhh ... well ... I foolishly presumed the OoT would be staffed by IT-type people, and not politician-type people ... (slaps own forehead).

      3. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Pre-Election De-Seating

        "The OoT changes the locks*..."

        The Downing Street locksmiths would have made a fortune last year!!!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Aren't Tories all about following the rules ?

      (when it suits them, that is).

      In the case referred to, the rules are crystal clear. Once the winning candidate has been announced - even in error - they are the incumbent. Obviously there is a formal route that has to be followed and it was exactly this that the erroneous incumbent insisted upon. Even though it drew loads of flak from the Tories. However I believe they quickly STFU when all the times Boris and the boys deliberately did not follow tradition started being counted.

      every time England lose in a penalty shoot out, despite it seeming unfair, we have to remember they knew the rules before they started.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Aren't Tories all about following the rules ?

        "every time England lose in a penalty shoot out, despite it seeming unfair..."

        It only seems unfair when you lose!!

    4. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Pat is not for turning! Win or not, she's got her seat and it's her constituents' problem! ...local democracy in action! Your vote really does matter...unless it doesn't.

      My understanding of UK election law is that the declared winner is deemed the winner with the route to correct any errors being through the High Court.

      Your presentation of the situation in Nelson seems rather hyperbolic to me.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I live in Surrey and don't vote Tory. I already know my vote doesn't matter.

      If you want to point fingers, point them at first-past-the-post.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Hampshire for me, so not that different to Surrey, but on the bright side my wife (lifelong Tory voter) is refusing to vote for them any more, and she can't be the only one... For the record, I've voted Tory, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Independent and Green, in no particular order, and almost always I've been voting *against* one or more candidates. I really wish we had a "Re-open Nominations" option on the ballot paper, as well as some form of proportional representation.

      2. hup hup hoo

        Boo hoo

        sob sob.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "There will be ridicule and mockery, and we have to accept that."

    Politics in Austria must be different. I can't imagine any UK politician being so self-critical however deserved it might be.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Voters don't count

      "There will be ridicule and mockery, and we have to accept that it won't make any difference to us." FTFY

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