I voted today, yes a Thursday. As a British citizen resident in Ireland I am entitled to vote in local and European elections – everything except voting in referendums or for the President. Voting here is not compulsory. Personally I think the compulsory voting is the way to go, somehow it just makes sense to me.
The campaign which was announced only 4 weeks ago has been closely fought with every light pole bearing huge posters of the candidates faces and yesterday (thankfully) the campaigning had to stop.
So when I showed up at my designated polling place (you’re not allowed to go to others) I was surprised by how low key it was. No lines of people shoving how to vote cards into my hands, no party atmosphere at all. Just a small room with four officials who looked at my passport and then crossed my name off and handed me my ballot sheet.
The ballot sheet itself has logos for the party, if a candidate is affiliated with one, the name suburb and occupation of the candidate and then their photo – very illiterate-friendly! All candidates are listed in alphabetical order.
You place a 1 beside your first preference and continue down, similar to Australia – except here you can stop where you like, you don’t have to give a vote to the weirdos or the gun lobby if you don’t want to.
I was in and out of the polling place within 5 minutes!