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Does this ballot paper look confusing to you?

One TD thinks we need to rethink the layout of the ballot paper before the next election.

Updated 11.25

ballot paper - 1 Candidates in the Dublin area for last year's European election Source: Sam Boal/Photocall

ballot paper - 2 Candidates in the Dublin area for last year's European election Source: Sam Boal/Photocall

LOOKING AT THE ballot papers above – do you find yourself with a feeling of confusion?

One Cork TD thinks that they are.

David Stanton has said that there is room for confusion to arise when it comes to candidates that are not affiliated with a specific political party.

If you look at the above papers you will notice that the format for most candidates goes party logo, name of candidate and party, candidate’s picture, voting space.

The difficulty is with the white space to the left of non-affiliated candidates where a party logo should be.

Stanton has said that in the local elections last May, he “observed that on a quite significant number of ballot papers, the column on the left-hand side of the ballot paper was where voters indicated their preferences.”

This resulted in candidates affiliated to political parties not getting any preference in all these ballot papers.

This means that while individuals voting for non-affiliated candidates by marking the left hand box would have their vote counted towards their first-choice candidates, they would not list the rest of their preferences.

The Fine Gael TD has said that he has suggested making changes to the ballot paper, such as filling in the box to the left of independent TDs, and has said that he has received a commitment from Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly.

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White space problems 

To further illustrate the difficulty this can cause, a reader has sent in the ballot paper from the Wicklow 2011 General Election.

The large number of non-affiliated candidates means that more than half of those running have white space to the left of their names – increasing the potential for confusion.

2011-02-25 20.54.18-1 Source: Eamon Harbison

First published 06.05. 

Read: Marriage referendum posters are technically allowed to say anything…

Also: The people in charge of the referendum are confident this ballot paper won’t confuse you

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