Voting in a referendum


If you are listed on the Register of Electors in Ireland, a polling card will be sent to your home before the referendum date. Your polling card will include your elector number and will tell you where you can vote. It will also include a formal statement explaining what the referendum is about.

You can see a copy of the bill containing the proposal to amend the Constitution on the Oireachtas website. You may also receive information about the referendum from the Referendum Commission.

On the day of the referendum, you must go to the polling station stated on your polling card. There will be information available at the polling station explaining what the referendum is about. You will be given a ballot paper.

Voting is by secret ballot. Your ballot paper will contain short instructions on how to vote and will show the title of bill proposing to amend the Constitution. Your ballot paper will ask you whether you approve of the passing of the bill. You must mark "X" in either the "yes" or the "no" box on your ballot paper. You may fold your ballot paper to hide how you voted and place it in a sealed ballot box. You may only vote once at a referendum.

Under the Electoral Regulations 2016 (SI 537/2016) a ballot paper template is available to allow voters with visual impairments to mark their ballot papers at a referendum without assistance.

When all the votes are tallied, the referendum returning officer will announce the referendum result.


Who can vote?

  • You must be an Irish citizen.
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Your name must be on the Register of Electors.

You will normally be required to vote in person at an official voting centre but you may be eligible for a postal vote if you are:

  • An Irish diplomat or his/her spouse posted abroad
  • A member of the Garda Síochána
  • A whole-time member of the Defence Forces

You may also be eligible for a postal vote if you cannot go to a polling station because:

  • Of a physical illness or disability
  • You are studying full time at an educational institution in Ireland, which is away from your home address where you are registered
  • You are unable to vote at your polling station because of your occupation
  • You are unable to vote at your polling station because you are in prison as a result of an order of a court

Applications for inclusion on the Postal Voters List must be received by 25 November each year at the latest.

If you are registered as a postal voter, you may vote by post only. You may not vote at a polling station.

For more information see Registering to vote.

Personal identification

You must bring a valid form of personal identification, such as a passport or driving licence, with you when you go to vote.
Page edited: 3 November 2016