Dublin Bay North ballot papers to be half metre long

Amalgamation leads to constituency having 22 candidates running for election

Candidate numbers are also concentrated in Dublin Bay North, which has been described as a “constituency of death” because of the competition. The ballot paper is likely to be about 45 cm (18 inches) long. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Candidate numbers are also concentrated in Dublin Bay North, which has been described as a “constituency of death” because of the competition. The ballot paper is likely to be about 45 cm (18 inches) long. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

The ballot papers handed to voters in Dublin Bay North are likely to be up to half a metre long because of the large number of candidates who have to be listed on a single sheet of paper. The constituency will have up to 22 candidates.

Returning officers in all constituencies have agreed, in consultation with the Department of the Environment, that ballot papers will be single sheets, regardless of the number of candidates.

Dublin City returning officer James Barry said a voter’s preferences could get confused if the list of candidates ran on two pages.

Nominations to run in the general election close at noon on Thursday. Close to 80 candidates are expected to register for the election in the five Dublin city constituencies of Dublin North-West, Dublin Bay North, Dublin Central, Dublin Bay South and Dublin South-Central.

About 15 more candidates than in 2011 are expected in the city, even though there is one fewer constituency following a boundary review. Mr Barry said there were a lot more new parties including Renua, the Social Democrats, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and Fís Nua.

‘Constituency of death’

Candidate numbers are also concentrated in Dublin Bay North, which has been described as a “constituency of death” because of the competition. The ballot paper is likely to be about 45cm (18 inches) long.

It has been formed from an amalgamation of Dublin North Central and Dublin North East, where five of the six outgoing TDs – Richard Bruton, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Finian McGrath, Terence Flanagan and Tommy Broughan – are seeking re-election along with candidates from Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the smaller parties and other independents. Labour TD Seán Kenny is retiring.

The two Kerry constituencies have also been amalgamated and returning officer Pádraig Burke expects to have 15 “declared runners”. Fifteen candidates are also expected in the merged Donegal constituencies and 12 in Tipperary.

Mr Burke warned voters that after taking the trouble to vote they should do so according to the instructions and vote in numerical order. When people vote for large parties their vote is often declared void because they put the number 1 beside each of the two or three candidates the party is running, he said.

Voters can examine a sample ballot paper on the Department of Environment website: environ.ie

Under electoral legislation returning officers across the State began accepting nominations on Saturday February 6th. In a two-part process papers are first lodged in person by either the candidate or their nominator, and then formally accepted.

Candidates affiliated to parties are required to have a certificate of political affiliation. Non-party candidates must either pay a deposit of €500 or have the “assent” of 30 signatories . Mr Barry said just two Dublin candidates are expected to go the assent route, with most paying the deposit. To recoup their deposit a candidate must get one quarter of a quota plus one vote.