Tally results are then released to the media before a formal account may even have begun, allowing predictions as to how some, or in most cases all, the seats in multi-member constituencies, may go hours in advance of the official count, by noting how many number 1s a candidate may get, who gets their number 2s, whether voters vote for one party or spread their first, second, third, fourth etc preferences randomly, by party, by alphabet, by local area, or by some other criteria. In the Republic of Ireland, a national prediction of an election outcome may be made on RTÉ by lunchtime on count day, before a single seat as officially been filled.
Tally results are used after the elections by political parties to work out, on the basis of from which ballot box the tally came, how many votes they picked in a particular area, or even a particular street. The planned introduction in the Republic of Ireland of electronic voting for the 2004 local elections is expected to lead to the demise of the tally system, a fact that some have criticised, given that tally predictions and long complex counts have given election outcomes on television much of their appeal, making election results coverage, which may last from 15 hours to days, depending on the closeness of an election, producing a form of spectator sport watched by vast viewerships.
For a sort of variation on writing numbers in the unary numeral system, see Tally mark