People are urged to bring their polling card and photographic IDs with them to polling stations today if they want to be guaranteed the chance to vote in the historic Eighth Amendment referendum.
The independent Referendum Commission, the Union of Students in Ireland, and other organisations made the plea in a bid to prevent any controversial refusals of voters in what has been labelled a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a say on Ireland’s abortion laws.
Between 7am and 10pm today, a record number of young voters and as many as 3.2m registered voters of all ages — including 118,000 people voting for the first time — will visit polling stations nationwide.
However, in order to ensure their vote will be counted, those attending have been reminded they must have key information with them or will be turned away at the door.
In order to vote in today’s referendum, individual citizens will have to have a polling card which was sent to their homes in recent days and a photo ID which can include a passport, driver’s licence, student identity card, public service card or another travel document containing the correct name and photograph.
If a polling card has not arrived at their homes, citizens can still vote providing they bring photo ID with them in addition to bank account or credit union account record proving their proof of address.
On arrival in the polling station, citizens will be asked to confirm their identity before finding their name on one of a number of lists in the location.
They will then go to the relevant polling official’s table to confirm their identity again, before receiving a ballot paper containing the exact referendum question, including a braille option for the first time for people who are blind or visually impaired.
At that point they will be asked to step to one side to vote in privacy in a specified area before returning to cast their vote in the ballot box.
It is illegal to show your vote to anyone else, or to take a photo or selfie of how you voted.
In addition, no campaigning — including referendum poster placements — can take place within 50ft of a polling station to ensure individual voters do not suffer coercion.