Polling stations open for landmark referendum vote

Over 3.2 million people entitled to vote in referendums on same-sex marriage and reducing the age of presidential candidates

 Yes Equality leaders joined  fellow Yes campaigners  to call for “one final push” in advance of polling day on the same-sex marriage referendum.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Yes Equality leaders joined fellow Yes campaigners to call for “one final push” in advance of polling day on the same-sex marriage referendum. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Polling stations across the country have opened for the referendums on same-sex marriage and reducing the age of presidential candidates. Just over 3.2 million people are entitled to vote today.

Polling stations opened their doors at 7am and will remain open until 10pm today.

All Irish citizens aged 18 or over are entitled to vote, but only if their names are on the electoral register.

There were 3.14 million names on the register when the date for the referendums was fixed, but 66,000 voters applied to have their names on the supplementary register before the deadline of May 5th.

Voters will be given two ballot papers: a white ballot paper for the marriage referendum and a green ballot paper for the age of presidential candidates referendum.

In the marriage referendum people may vote Yes or No to the proposal to include a new clause about marriage in the Constitution.

This new clause provides that two people may marry each other regardless of their sex.

Age

In this referendum, people may vote Yes or No to the proposal to reduce the age at which candidates are eligible for election to the office of President from 35 to 21.

Voters cast their ballot by putting an X mark in the box to indicate whether they wish to vote Yes or No to the amendments.

Voters should bring their polling cards with them, but may still vote if they do not have them as long as they can prove their identity.

All voters should bring evidence of identity with them. Anyone who fails to produce evidence of identity when requested, or who fails to satisfy the presiding officer that they are the person to whom the document relates, will not be allowed to vote.

A number of documents that will be accepted as evidence of identity are listed on polling cards and on posters displayed at polling stations.

These documents are: (i) a passport; (ii) a driving licence; (iii) an employee identity card containing a photograph; (iv) a student identity card issued by an educational institution and containing a photograph; (v) a travel document containing name and photograph; (vi) a bank or savings or credit union book containing an address in the constituency or local electoral area (where appropriate); (vii) a public services card.

Further document

The Referendum Commission has called on all voters to use their votes in both referendums.

The commission, which is the independent body set up to explain the referendum proposals and encourage voter turnout, says that unbiased facts about the marriage referendum and the age of presidential candidates referendum are available in both the independent guide and on refcom.ie for voters who are still considering their options.

Commission chairman, Mr Justice Kevin Cross, said: “We do not argue for a Yes or No vote, but we do strongly urge you to inform yourself and use your vote. How you vote on each of the two proposals is entirely a matter for you to decide, but it is important that you use your vote.”

Voting will also take place today in the Carlow-Kilkenny byelection.

There are 13 candidates for the vacancy created by the departure of Fine Gael TD Phil Hogan to take up the post of EU commissioner.