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Voting Timeline: Here's What To Expect Over The Next 36 Hours

By Jen

May 25, 2018 at 10:25am

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After eight weeks of intense canvassing, voting day is finally here. 

35 years after the eighth was first enshrined in our constitution, the people of Ireland get the chance to repeal or retain the Eighth Amendment. 

So, what can we expect in the next 36 hours? When can we vote and when can we expect the result?

When can we vote?

The polls have been open since 7am and will remain open until 10pm tonight. People are encouraged to vote as early as they can to avoid the last minute rush.

If you don't know where your polling station is it will be on your polling card. If you don't have a polling card but are on the register your local council should be able to help you out. Remember to bring your i.d. and proof of address with you.

Don't forget you are not allowed to wear jumpers, badgers or stickers when voting as you could be turned away.

And you're only gorgeous but no selfies allowed either.

What am I voting on?

Below is a sample of the ballot paper

Sample Ballot Paper

You have heard the phrases "Repeal the eighth" and "Save the eighth" numerous times over the campaign so don't be thrown off when you see that the ballot paper says the 36th amendment. 

You're voting on the 36th change to our constitution and that change will determine whether we repeal or retain the Eighth Amendment.

So, if you want to repeal the Eighth Amendment put an 'X' in the box beside the yes box.

If you want to retain the Amendment put an 'X' in the box beside the no box.

In the event that the Yes vote wins, Article 40.3.3 which contains the Eighth Amendment (the right to life of the unborn), the 13th Amendment (right to information about seeking a termination), and 14th Amendment (right to travel for a termination) will be removed and replaced with the following:

Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.

When will we know the result?

While official counting doesn't start until Saturday morning, we will have the results of an exit poll which will be announced by RTÉ on the Late Late Show before midnight tonight.

Previous exit polls have been accurate in the past so this should give us a good indication of what the overall outcome will be before we go to bed.

At 9am tomorrow morning the counting will begin across the country. We should to start get results from late morning to early afternoon. 

The votes will be coming in from all 40 Dáil constituencies so the results of every constituency will be added together to get the final result.

Each result is sent to the national returning officer based in Dublin castle where the final result will be announced.

While we didn't have the final result of the Marriage referendum until 7pm, we knew a few hours previously.

We should have the official result much sooner than that this time around because we voted on lowering the presidential age back in 2015 as well. (Yeah, we can barely remember that one too.)

A clear though unofficial result is expected from around 2pm with an official result likely to come around 4pm. 


What happens then?

It all depends on the result. 

If 'No' wins then the constitution doesn't change.

If 'Yes' wins then things still don't change straightaway. The government will then move to pass the legislation it said it would, which will include the provision of legalised access to abortion up to 12 weeks in all circumstances.

This would then have to move through the Oireachtas and then services would have to be put in place to provide abortions. 

Which means that, in all likelihood, it will be the end of the year at the earliest before abortions will be legally available.

READ NEXT: WATCH: On This Day In 1996 RTÉ Went Online And Everyone Was Acting Like Your Dad


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