Opportunities to vote arise in five decision-making procedures:
- Election of the President every 7 years
- D�il (parliamentary) elections,
at least every 5 years
- Referenda on proposed Constitutional amendments
Election of representatives to the EU Parliament, every 5 years
Elections to local authorities, usually every 5 years.
over the age of 18 years may vote at D�il, Presidential, local and European
elections, and referenda. British
citizens living in Ireland may vote at D�il,
European and local elections. European
Union citizens may vote at European and
local elections. All residents
, regardless of citizenship, may vote at local
The electoral system is proportional representation by means of a
single transferable vote (PR-STV) in multi-member constituencies. Voting in D�il elections is by secret ballot. Postal voting is confined to members of the defence forces and civil servants and their spouses
When voting the voter marks the ballot paper by placing the figure '1' opposite the name of the candidate of his or her first choice and, if the voter wishes, '2' is placed
opposite the name of the second choice, and so on. The elector is, in effect, telling the returning officer 'I wish to vote for A, but if that candidate does not need my vote or has no chance of being elected, transfer my vote to B; if B in turn does not need my vote, or in turn has no chance of election, transfer my vote to C'.
At the opening of the count, the ballot papers are mixed
together and then sorted according to the first preferences recorded for the
candidates. The total number of valid papers is counted, and the electoral
quota is calculated. The quota is the smallest number of votes necessary to
secure the election of a candidate.
The quota is established according to the
formula: Total valid votes +1 number of seats +1 Thus, if
there were 40,000 valid votes and four seats to be filled, the quota for
election would be 8,001 and only four candidates could reach the quota. If, on
the first count, no candidate has reached the quota, the candidate who received
the lowest number of votes is eliminated and his or her votes are transferred
to the candidate for whom a second preference is recorded. If a candidate
receives more than the quota required for election, his or her surplus votes
are transferred to the remaining candidates in accordance with the subsequent
preferences expressed by the electors. When the number of remaining candidates
who have neither been elected nor eliminated corresponds to the number of
vacancies to be filled, those candidates are declared elected. This applies
even though those remaining may not have reached the quota.
An election for the Seanad takes place not later than ninety days after a
dissolution of D�il �ireann. The voting system used is proportional
representation by secret postal ballot.
The electorate for the forty-three
members of the Seanad elected from panels of candidates, numbers just over
1,100. The electorate comprises the members of the newly-elected D�il, the
members of the outgoing Seanad, and the members of every council of a county or
county borough. There is a separate election for each of the five panels. The
electorate for the six members elected from the universities consists of every
citizen who has received a degree (other than an honorary one) from those
universities and who has attained the age of eighteen years and is registered
as an elector.