McNamara slams polling day decision
Anton McNulty and Edwin McGreal
A Mayo County Councillor has lashed out at the fact that the election will take place on Thursday, arguing that it disenfranchises people who live away from home during the week.
“I really cannot see the logic in holding this election on a Thursday,” Achill-based Fianna Fáil Cllr Micheál McNamara told The Mayo News. “I know a number of young people in college and others who are working away from home who cannot get home to Achill to vote. It is impossible to leave Dublin at five o’clock and be home for ten o’clock without missing lectures or time off work. I think it was a mistake by the current government to put the election on Thursday and in the future I would ask that they are held on Fridays or over weekends.”
The majority of eligible voters in Mayo will exercise their franchise in the Presidential Election and the two referenda this Thursday but voters on offshore islands go to the polls today.
Polling stations in the county will be open from 7am in the morning until 10pm at night. However those due to vote at Westport Courthouse have been advised by County Registrar Fintan Murphy that they will be required to vote across the road from the courthouse, at the Castlecourt Hotel, due to a clash with a local court sitting.
Voters will have three ballot papers to vote on. The white paper will be for the presidential election where voters will have a choice of seven candidates. Meanwhile there will be a green paper for the 29th Amendment, the Judges Renumeration Bill and a blue paper for the 30th Amendment, the Houses of the Oireachtas Enquiries Bill.
Fintan Murphy also took the opportunity to assure voters that once they are on site at the polling station by 10pm, they will be able to vote.
Counting of the 244 ballot boxes in Mayo will take place in the TF Royal Hotel in Castlebar on Friday next, commencing at 9am with a first count expected by mid-afternoon. There will be no announcement in Castlebar like in the case of local or general elections but the information will be circulated and the count is open to all.