Sunday 22 September 2019

Easy guide to what voters can expect at the ballot box today

Frances Lavin casts her vote watched by her daughter Anna on Gola Island, Co Donegal. Photo: Getty
Frances Lavin casts her vote watched by her daughter Anna on Gola Island, Co Donegal. Photo: Getty
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Voters will be handed up to four different ballot papers when they arrive at polling stations around the country today.

The decision to hold European and local elections alongside a referendum on divorce and a plebiscite in some counties has the potential to be confusing.

Here's an easy guide to what you can expect:

European elections

The EU ballot paper will be coloured white. It has the potential to be very long due to the large number of candidates.

In Ireland South there will be 23 hopefuls. There are 19 in Dublin and 17 in Midlands- North-West.

You should vote for the candidates in order of your preference. Transfers are likely to be key for the final seats.

In total, Ireland will elect 11 MEPs and two stand-by MEPs, who will take up their seats once the UK representatives leave the European Parliament.

Local elections

There is no uniform colour for the local election ballot papers. That will be decided in each individual county.

Almost 2,000 candidates are in the mix for 949 places on 31 local authorities. Names will appear in alphabetical order and again you can vote all the way from top to bottom in order of your preference.

Currently Fianna Fáil is the largest party in local government and hopes to retain that position. Fine Gael lost 105 seats in 2014 and hopes to regain some of those.

Sinn Féin is the third largest party. As for the Labour Party, it is hoping to rebuild after a drubbing five years ago which resulted in the resignation of Eamon Gilmore.

Divorce referendum

The question on the green referendum ballot won't tell you much about what you are actually being asked, so it is advisable to read up in advance.

If you want to allow the Government to reduce the waiting period for a divorce and to recognise foreign divorces, vote 'Yes'. If you want to retain the status quo, vote 'No'.

Plebiscite

Voters in Cork, Waterford and Limerick will get a pink ballot paper asking whether they want an opportunity to vote for a directly elected mayor in the future.

Irish Independent

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