New 'simplified' ballot papers for General Election
Voters at the next election will have a new, simplified ballot paper.
The main change proposed is to move the space for the emblem of a political party from the left-hand side of the ballot paper to a new location to the left of the photograph.
The new papers should be in place in time for the upcoming General Election. The move has fuelled speculation that Taoiseach Enda Kenny is preparing to call an early election.
At present, emblems are placed along the left-hand side of the ballot paper, while for 'non-party' candidates the space is left blank.
"It is reported that some voters express their voting preferences by placing their marks in these boxes in the left-hand column," a Department of the Environment statement said.
"While it is understood that such marks may not necessarily make a ballot paper invalid, the minister (Alan Kelly) is of the view that any potential confusion should be eliminated where possible."