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Everything You Need To Know About Voting In Friday's Referendum


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There’s been precious little both sides in the abortion debate can agree on, but both will stress how important it is to vote. Here’s what you need to know:

What exactly are we voting on again?

You’ll be asked a YES/NO question when you get to the polling station.

If you want to repeal the 8th amendment and give the Oireachtas the power to legislate for abortion - put an X in the YES box.

If you want to retain the 8th amendment in full as it is now - put an X in the NO box.

The only question you’re being asked is whether to change the constitution to allow a change in the law on abortion. How that is done will be decided by the Oireachtas if there is a YES vote. If the NO side wins things will stay as they are now.

 

When can I vote?

Polling booths will be open from 7am on Friday morning and will close at 10pm on Friday evening.

Do I need my polling card?

You should bring your polling card with you. But if you can’t find it you can still vote as long as you’re on the register of electors and bring a valid ID.

A passport, drivers licence, student card, Public Services Card, or an employee identity card with a photograph will be accepted as ID.

How do I know if I’m on the register of electors?

You can search to see at CheckTheRegister.ie. If you’ve just registered or have changed address you will now be on the supplementary register. Once you’re on the register you can vote even without your polling card.

How do I find my local polling station?

It will be written on your polling card. Alternatively contact your local council and they’ll give you a steer.

What if I’m struggling to get home to vote?

Well the Union of Students in Ireland is setting up some lift sharing for people with their #MotorVoter - head to studentsforchoice.ie to see if someone is going your way.

Lynk taxis are also offering free lifts to polling stations if your bill is under €10. If it’s more than that they’ll give you a tenner off whatever the charge is to get you to the ballot box.

What can I wear?

It’s probably best to leave your Repeal or Save the 8th jumpers and badges at home.

Canvassing isn’t allowed within 50 metres of a polling station and is classed as an offence.

It’s up to each individual returning officer to decide what’s allowed and what isn’t. So while some may be fine with jumpers and badges others may ask you to remove them.

It’s easier for everyone if you leave anything branded in the car or at home.

Can I take a selfie?

Nope. All photography and videography is banned in the polling stations.

It’s a rule aimed at respecting the secrecy of the ballot box and the people who are in the centre with you.

So keep your phone in your pocket, the Insta likes aren't worth it.

What about marking the card itself?

You’d be best not to channel your inner Maser or write ‘Love Both’ on the ballot itself. This could mean your vote will be seen as spoiled and won’t count.

Just mark an X in the box next to how you want to vote and nothing else.

If you make a mistake don’t put your paper in the ballot box and immediately ask the attendant for another ballot. They’ll give you one if they think it’s an honest mistake.

The count centres can do without your works of art on the ballot, so X alone marks the spot.

When will we know the result?

It’s hard to say for sure. Usually there’s a clear idea of what side has won by early afternoon with the formal result announced somewhere between 3 and 5pm. But if it’s close it could be longer.

 @SeanDefoe


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