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General Election (Bye election) 2019

Election to the Dáil – introduction

A Dáil election (general election) must be held within 30 days after the dissolution of the Dáil. The Clerk of the Dáil issues a writ to the returning officer in each constituency instructing him or her to hold an election.

Bye elections

Casual vacancies in the membership of the Dáil are filled by bye elections.  On the instruction of the Dail, the Clerk issues a writ to the returning officer for the constituency concerned directing the holding of a bye election to fill the vacancy.  Procedure at a bye election is the same as at a general election.

The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government appoints the polling day which must be between the 18th and 25th day (excluding Good Friday, Sundays and Public Holidays) after the issue of the writ. The Minister also appoints the polling period which must consist of at least 12 hours between 7:00am and 10:30pm.

Further information is available in the information leaflet - How the Dáil is elected (pdf, 229kb).

The responsibility for conducting the election in each constituency rests with the returning officer.  The cost of running the election is met by the Department of Finance, from the Central Fund, based on a Charges Order made by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

Electors with Physical Illness or Physical Disability

A voter with a physical illness or physical disability, whose name is not on the postal or special voters list, and who may have difficulty gaining access to his or her local polling station may apply to have his or her vote transferred to a more accessible polling station in their constituency. 

In order to avail of the facility, an elector should apply in writing to the returning officer for his or her constituency area by Friday 22 November 2019 at the latest. 

Polling Day for Bye Elections in Cork North-Central, Dublin Fingal, Dublin Mid-West and Wexford

Polling day is Friday 29 November 2019.

Polling stations will be open from 7.a.m. to 10 p.m.  On Thursday 7 November the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government made the Polling Day Order. Press Release

Polling Information Card

Polling Information Cards will be issued to voters in the days before polling day.  The Polling Information Card will tell you where to go to vote and the times that the polling station is open.  It will also tell you what identity documents to bring.  You don’t need a Polling Information Card to vote.

Instructions for Voting

You should carefully read the short instructions on the ballot paper given to you by the presiding officer.  Write 1 in the box beside the candidate of your first choice, write 2 in the box beside the candidate of your second choice, and so on.  You should not write anything else on the ballot paper – doing so may invalidate your vote. 

Guide to Voting - An easy to read Guide

Inclusion Ireland has prepared a booklet "Guide to Voting - An easy to read Guide".

Who can Vote?

Every person who is an Irish or British citizen and is included in the register Dáil of electors in force on polling day is entitled to vote at the general election.

New Irish Citizens

A person who becomes an Irish citizen, who is not already on the register of electors, and who wishes to apply to be included in the supplement to the register of electors, should complete form RFA2, which is available from local authorities or to download from checktheregister.ie

Form (RFA 5) is to facilitate voters who are already on the register of local, European or Dáil electors who have become Irish citizens and wish to be included in the supplement to the register of electors so that they can also vote at Dáil and presidential elections, and referendums.

Nomination Forms

Candidates may nominate themselves or be nominated by a Dáil elector for the constituency.  Nomination forms may be obtained from the returning officer.  The forms are prescribed by the Minister in Statutory Instrument No. 481 of 2019

The period for receipt of nominations ends at 12 noon on Friday 15 November.

The candidate or proposer is responsible for ensuring that the completed nomination paper is delivered to the returning officer before the closing time for receipt of nominations at the election.

Free-post facility for candidates

Candidates at the General Election are entitled to send one item free of any charge for postage to each household in their constituency.  An Post have a team in place to assist candidates and those who wish to avail of the service should contact Mr Damien Murray of An Post at damien.murray@anpost.ie The free-post facility is subject to a number of general requirements. These are set out in section 57 of the Electoral Act 1992.

Constituencies

Expenditure and Reimbursement Limits at Dáil Elections

The Electoral Act 1997 sets limits on the amount of expenditure which may be incurred by or on behalf of a candidate at a Dáil election. Section 3 of the Electoral Act 1997, as amended, provides that these and other amounts in the Act may be varied by Ministerial order in line with movement in the Consumer Price Index.

The current limits set in S.I. No. 113 of 2007  are:

  • 30,150 euro in a 3-seat constituency
  • 37,650 euro in a 4-seat constituency
  • 45,200 euro in a 5-seat constituency.

The amount of election expenses which may be reimbursed to a candidate at a Dáil election is the actual expenses or 8,700 euro, whichever is the less.

Candidates, Election Agents and Third Parties should contact the Standards in Public Office Commission  for guidance on these requirements.

Election Posters

Posters may only be erected for a certain specified time period before an election.  For the 2019 bye elections the period is from Thursday, 7 November, the date the polling day order was made. Candidates must remove all posters within 7 days of the poll. These requirements relating to election posters are set out in section 19 of the Litter Pollution Act 1997.  Further information on election posters.

Selfies/Photographs

While the taking of photographs is not specifically prohibited in electoral law the sharing of any photograph of a ballot paper marked or being marked at an election has the potential to compromise the integrity and secrecy of the ballot. The taking of such photographs or ‘selfies’ will not therefore be allowed in polling stations.

Counting the Votes

The count will commence at 9 a.m. on the day after polling day at count centres throughout the country.  The ballot boxes are opened and ballot paper accounts are verified.  The ballot papers are then sorted and doubtful ballot papers are excluded.  The returning officer will adjudicate on these, calculate the quota and proceed to count first preferences and subsequent preferences until all seats are filled.

Count Centres for Dáil Éireann Bye-Elections 2019

Constituency Returning Officer Address of Count Centre
Cork North-Central Mr. Martin A. Harvey Nemo Rangers Hurling & Football Club, South Douglas Road, Cork
Dublin Fingal Mr. Fergus Gallagher

The National Show Centre,Kennel Club, Stockhole Lane, Cloghran, Dublin

Dublin Mid-West Mr. Fergus Gallagher

Adamstown Community Centre, Station Rd, Adamstown, Lucan, Dublin

Wexford Ms. Marie Garahy

St Joseph's Club Community Centre, Bishopswater, Wexford

Sample Ballot Paper

The Electoral (Amendment) Act 2015 introduced a new form of ballot paper for Dáil elections (bye elections).  This is a sample of what the ballot paper will look like.

Evidence of Identity

You may be asked for evidence of identity at the polling station. The following documents are acceptable for identification purposes -

  • a passport
  • a driving licence
  • an employee identity card containing a photograph
  • a student identity card issued by an educational institution and containing a photograph
  • a travel document containing name and photograph
  • a Bank or Savings or Credit Union book containing address in the constituency or local electoral area (where appropriate)
  • a Public Services Card

or

any of the following accompanied by a further document which establishes the address of the holder in the constituency or local electoral area (where appropriate);

  • a cheque book
  • a cheque card
  • a credit card
  • a birth certificate
  • a marriage certificate.
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