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Elections and Voting

Register of Electors Contacts:

How do I vote


The Electoral Commission has published information and videos to assist voters in exercising their right to vote, which can be found on their website How to vote - Electoral Commission.

When you vote in an election in Ireland, you are asked to give your vote in order of preference. This is because Ireland uses an electoral system called proportional representation with a single transferrable vote (PR–STV, or PR for short).

The names of candidates appear in alphabetical order on the ballot paper, along with their photographs.

You vote by writing 1 opposite your first choice candidate, 2 opposite your second choice, 3 opposite your third choice and so on. You can stop after 1 or you can continue to give a preferential vote to as many candidates on the ballot paper as you wish.

When you vote with more than one preference, you are instructing the Returning Officer (the person responsible for the counting of votes) that if your preferred candidate is eliminated, or elected with a surplus of votes, you want your vote to be transferred to your second choice candidate.

PR is used in all elections in Ireland, including:

  • General elections
  • Local elections
  • European elections
  • Presidential elections


The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government have issued a guide to Ireland’s PR-STV Voting System, a copy of which can be found here .