Treaty Q&A: How to vote
So, after all the debating and arguing, I get the chance to use my vote today. Where can I exercise my democratic rights?
Most people will be voting in their usual local polling station, which is open today from 7am to 10pm.
While more than 3.1 million people are eligible to vote, the turnout is likely to be 50-60 per cent. Some 8,000 “special” voters will have voted already in hospitals and nursing homes, as have about 13,000 people who are eligible for postal voting. In addition, most inhabitants of offshore islands have already had the chance to cast their ballots.
What do I need to bring along?
You should have received a polling card by now, but you should also bring along a piece of identification.
Acceptable identification includes: a passport; driving licence; employee identity card containing a photograph; a student identity card issued by an educational institution and containing a photograph; a travel document containing a name and photograph; a bank or savings or credit union book containing the voter’s address in the constituency.
Voters can also use a cheque book, cheque card, credit card, birth or marriage certificate, but must also have another document establishing their address.
What if I haven’t received a polling card?
You are entitled to vote if you are an Irish citizen, aged 18 or over and living in Ireland, but you also have to be on the register. You can check whether you are on checktheregister.ie.
Even if you haven’t received a polling card you will be entitled to vote so long as your name is on the register and you can produce identification.
What are we voting on again?
The exact title is the “Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union between. . .”, and then it goes on to name the 25 contracting states, including Ireland.
The treaty, which runs to 11 pages, will not feature on the ballot paper. Instead you will be asked to vote Yes or No to adding a new subsection to article 29.4 of the Constitution. The wording is in the panel below.
What happens then?
Counting of the votes starts tomorrow morning and, unless it’s close, we should have an indication of the outcome by mid-morning.
And then what?
If the vote is in favour of the treaty the Constitution will be amended and Ireland will ratify it. The treaty has to be ratified by at least 12 of the 17 euro zone countries before it comes into effect next January. Ireland would then have a year to introduce the national legislation demanded by the treaty.
If the vote is No the Constitution will be left unchanged and Ireland will not ratify the treaty. However, the ratification process will continue elsewhere in Europe, and the treaty will come into effect after next January once 12 countries have ratified it.
Even at this late stage I need more information. Where can I get it?
This newspaper’s supplement on the treaty, published earlier this month, is available online, as is a short guide published in yesterday’s edition.
The independent Referendum Commission’s website, referendum2012.ie, is also worth a look.