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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 1 November, 2014

Ballot papers might get makeover because they confuse voters

The issue was underlined by last October when voters were given two ballot papers in the referendums.

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BALLOT PAPERS USED in future referendums could look a little different.

A report being launched tomorrow looks at whether we need to overhaul the ballot paper design with research showing voters were confused the last time round.

Last October, voters were given two ballot papers when they went to their polling stations yesterday with green for the Court of Appeal referendum and white for the Seanad abolition vote.

Confusion

There were reports that there was an element of confusion with voters calling for the government to go back to the drawing board to make the ballot papers more straight-forward.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions report contains a number of important recommendations that they think will enhance the ballot paper and make it all a little easier for us to understand.

“Research by the Referendum Commission has indicated that there was considerable public confusion around the ballot paper in the recent referendums held last October,” said Chairman of the Committee Pádraig Mac Lochlainn.

He said that while this research indicates that either way, the proposal to abolish the Seanad would still have been rejected, the margin of rejection would have been slightly greater.

“The potential impact of this confusion on the democratic process is a source of concern to our Committee,” said Mac Lochlainn.

The committee said following a series of public and private hearings on the matter, they will publish their recommendations so that “lessons can be learned from the most recent referendum and applied to both future referenda and elections”.

Read: Simplify ballot papers? It could cause legal problems, say Environment officials>

Read: ‘We don’t really simplify things that are straightforward’: Ballot papers cause confusion>

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