THIS is a simple guideline for those who aren't familar with the electoral system or may have never voted before.

The voting system we us in Ireland is called Proportional Representation or PR.

You start of by putting the number 1 in the empty box beside the candidate you want to be elected most, in otherwords your first preference.

You then continue by putting the number 2 in the box beside the candidate you want to be elected secondly or seond preference, and so on.

However you may wish to just stop after 1 or 2 or 3 etc. You are perfectly entitled to do this and you do not have to complete the ballot paper. However it is important to note that your No.2 or No.3 vote etc. may be very useful as they may very well be counted depending on the curcumstances.

Common Mistakes:

- People who are not registered: In order to vote you must be on the Register of Electors. Any Irish or UK Citizen who is 18 on polling day and resident in the Republic of Ireland,is entitled to vote. However you cannot turn up unregistered. You need to check that you are on the register at If you are not on the list please contact my office asap. Please note there is a deadline of Tuesday the 9th  of February. Remember no vote means no voice!

- Forgetting ID or polling card: In order to vote please bring along your polling card which will be posted to you the week before polling day. Also bring ID as in large polling stations it may be requested to verify you are who the card says you are!

- People often put ticks or x's in the boxes for the candidates. This will result in your vote being declared spoiled and invalid as they cannot assess which candidate you gave your 1st preference vote to so avoid this!

- Another common mistake people make is writing on the ballot paper. If you write anything on the ballot it will also be declared invalid and not counted. Remember only use numbers.

- Numbers unclear: Make sure to write the numbers clearly in the boxes as often they are hard to see and may result in the vote being not counted. Common numbers that cause trouble are 2's and 5's, 3's and 8's.

- Make sure the suprivising Officer at your polling station has stamped the ballot paper before placing it in the ballot box as otherwise it will not be counted.

Vote No.1 Eamon Scanlon