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23 1992



Arrangements for the Poll

Notice of the poll.

87. —Where a Dáil election is adjourned for the purpose of taking a poll, the returning officer shall, as soon as practicable after the adjournment, publish a notice (in this Act referred to as “the notice of poll”) stating—

(a) the day on which and the hours during which the poll will be taken,

(b) the names and descriptions of the candidates standing nominated at the election as entered in their nomination papers and of the proposers, if any, and

(c) the order in which the names of the said candidates will appear on the ballot papers.

Ballot papers.

88. —(1) The ballot of a voter at a Dáil election shall consist of a paper (in this Act referred to as a “ballot paper”) in the form specified in the Fourth Schedule .

(2) Ballot papers shall be prepared in accordance with the following directions—

(a) a ballot paper shall contain the names and descriptions of the candidates standing nominated at the election, as shown in their respective nomination papers. The names shall be arranged alphabetically in the order of the surnames or, if there are 2 or more candidates bearing the same surname, in the alphabetical order of their other names or, if their surnames and other names are the same, in such order as shall be determined by lot by the returning officer,

(b) the surname of each candidate and the name of his political party if any, or, if appropriate, the expression “Non-Party” shall be printed in large capitals, his name shall be printed in small capitals and his address and occupation, if any, as appearing in his nomination paper shall be printed in ordinary characters,

(c) the list of candidates shall be arranged either in one continuous column or in 2 or more columns in such manner (without departing from the alphabetical order) as, in the opinion of the returning officer, is best for marking and counting, but subject to the restriction that the spaces on the ballot paper within which the candidates’ names and descriptions appear shall be the same for each of the candidates,

(d) the ballot papers shall be numbered consecutively on the back and the back of the counterfoil attached to each ballot paper shall bear the same number. The numbers on the ballot papers shall be printed in the smallest characters compatible with legibility and shall be printed on or about the centre of the paper,

(e) the top right hand column on the ballot paper shall bear such markings as to ensure that nothing may be written therein,

(f) apart from anything permitted by the form specified in the Fourth Schedule , nothing shall appear on the ballot paper except in accordance with these directions.

The official mark.

89. —(1) A ballot paper shall at the time of issue be marked with an official mark (in this Act referred to as “the official mark”), which shall be either embossed or perforated so as to be visible on both sides of the paper and the returning officer shall provide a sufficient number of marking instruments for this purpose.

(2) The returning officer shall ensure that the official mark is kept secret before the taking of the poll and that an interval of not less than seven years shall intervene between each use of the same official mark at a Dáil election in the constituency.

Ballot boxes.

90. —Every ballot box shall be so constructed that it can be securely locked and that while it is so locked ballot papers can be inserted therein but cannot be extracted and that the box and the aperture for the insertion of ballot papers can be sealed.

Use of local elections ballot boxes etc.

91. —Any ballot boxes, fittings for polling stations and compartments provided for local elections in any local electoral area wholly or partly contained in a Dáil constituency or for European elections in a European constituency in which a Dáil constituency is wholly or partly contained may be used for any Dáil election in such Dáil constituency; and it shall be the duty of the returning officer at any Dáil election in such constituency to make use so far as practicable of the ballot boxes, fittings and compartments aforesaid, and upon taxation of his accounts regard shall be had to the provisions of this section, and any damage, other than reasonable wear and tear, caused to any such ballot boxes, fittings and compartments by such user at a Dáil election shall be paid as part of the expenses of the election.

Polling information cards.

92. —(1) Where a poll is to be taken at a Dáil election in a constituency, the returning officer shall send to every elector whose name is on the register of Dáil electors for the constituency and is not on the postal voters list or the special voters list a card (in this section referred to as a “polling information card”) in such form as may be directed by the Minister informing him of his number (including polling district letter) on the register of Dáil electors and of the place at which he will be entitled to vote, and containing a statement in relation to the specified documents referred to in section 111 .

(2) A polling information card shall be addressed to the elector at the address in respect of which he is registered in the register of Dáil electors and shall be delivered at that address not later than the third day before the polling day.

(3) Where a polling information card is dispatched by post it shall be transmitted without prepayment of charges therefor by the earliest practicable post.

(4) No action or other proceedings shall lie against a returning officer in respect of any failure to send, non-delivery of or error or mis-statement in a polling information card.

Use of schools and public premises.

93. —(1) The returning officer may for the purpose of taking the poll and counting the votes at a Dáil election use, free of charge, any school or any room in a school and any premises (other than a dwelling house) owned or occupied by a local authority.

(2) The returning officer shall make good any damage to, and may defray any expenses incurred by the person having control over such school, room or premises by reason of its being used by him at a Dáil election.

(3) The use of any unoccupied premises or any part thereof for the purpose of taking the poll and counting the votes at a Dáil election shall not make the premises liable to be rated or render any person liable to pay any rate for the premises.

(4) A person having charge of a school adjoining or adjacent to or forming part of a church or a convent or other religious establishment may, within twenty-four hours after receiving notice from the returning officer of an intention to use such school or any part thereof at a Dáil election, object to such use by sending a statement of such objection to the returning officer. Any objection made under this subsection may, on the application of the returning officer, be overruled by the Minister if he thinks it right so to do, but unless and until such objection is so over-ruled, no part of the school referred to in such objection may be used under this section.

(5) In this section “school” means any school receiving a grant out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas and includes a national school and a secondary, vocational or other post-primary school.

Polling stations.

94. —(1) At every polling place the returning officer shall provide a sufficient number of polling stations, conveniently distributed for the accommodation of the Dáil electors entitled to vote there. Where, by reason of any difficulty, a polling station or a sufficient number of polling stations cannot be provided at the appointed polling place, the returning officer may provide a polling station or polling stations at any other convenient place.

(2) The returning officer shall allot the Dáil electors to the polling stations in such manner as, in his opinion, will be most convenient for them.

(3) The returning officer shall give public notice of the location of polling stations in each polling place and the description of Dáil electors allotted to vote at each such place.

(4) The returning officer shall make adequate provision for the heating, lighting and cleaning of each polling station.

(5) The returning officer shall provide at each polling station—

(a) such number of compartments in which the voters can mark their ballot papers screened from observation, as he considers necessary,

(b) such furniture as he considers necessary,

(c) a sufficient number of ballot boxes,

(d) such number of ballot papers as he considers necessary,

(e) instruments for placing the official mark on ballot papers,

(f) copies of the register or such part thereof as contains the names of the Dáil electors allotted to vote at the station,

(g) such materials as he considers necessary to enable voters to mark their ballot papers,

(h) such other documents, forms, stationery and other materials as he considers necessary.

(6) The returning officer shall keep a record of the numbers on the ballot papers provided by him at each polling station.

Presiding officers and poll clerks.

95. —(1) The returning officer shall appoint a presiding officer to preside at each polling station and may also appoint a poll clerk or clerks to assist each presiding officer. Any such appointment may be revoked at any time by the returning officer and where the appointment revoked is the appointment of a presiding officer the returning officer shall forthwith appoint a fresh presiding officer to preside at the relevant polling station.

(2) The returning officer shall, on request, permit a person in respect of whom he is satisfied that that person has a bona fide interest in the Dáil election as either a candidate or a prospective candidate, or the agent of such a person, to inspect the list of persons to whom he has offered, or proposes to offer, appointments as presiding officers or poll clerks.

(3) A presiding officer shall keep order at his station, regulate the number of Dáil electors to be admitted at a time and shall exclude all other persons except those authorised by section 98 to be present in the station.

(4) The presiding officer may do, by a clerk appointed to assist him, any act which he is required or authorised to do by this Act, except ordering the arrest, exclusion or ejection from the polling station of any person.

(5) The returning officer or a person appointed by him under subsection (6) may perform all or any of the functions of a presiding officer and while so doing shall be subject to the provisions of this Act in like manner as if he had been appointed a presiding officer.

(6) The returning officer may appoint a person to act as his representative in a polling place to carry out such duties as the returning officer may assign to him.