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File photo of ballot boxes being opened at the same sex marriage referendum in the RDS in Dublin in 2015. Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Yes or No

The country has voted in the Eighth Amendment referendum - Here's what to expect from the day

With all the votes cast, all that’s left is to count them.

IRELAND HAS GONE to the polls and voted in the historic referendum on whether to repeal or retain the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution.

Irish men and women turned out in their droves in constituencies across the country yesterday to go to the polls on the historic and divisive Eighth Amendment referendum.

No ballots have been counted yet but exit polls have suggested a decisive victory for the Yes side – here’s what to expect over the day.

Counting begins 

So the ballot boxes have been sealed and brought to counting centres across the country.

The referendum votes are sorted by Dáil constituencies (of which there are 40), and will be counted in designated counting centres. You can view a list the counting centres here.

The official counting will kick off at 9am this morning when the ballot boxes are opened.

The votes will be sorted and counted and after a few hours the result should start being announced.

The results 

Clearly, some constituencies are smaller than others, which means the time will vary greatly in terms of which place reports when.

During 2015′s same-sex marriage referendum, the first constituency reported at 2.30pm – five-and-a-half hours after the ballot boxes opened.

However, it is highly likely that results will come in quicker this time round, due to there being only one ballot cast this time, compared to two in 2015.

(Don’t forget, as well as voting in favour of same sex marriage in 2015, Ireland roundly rejected a campaign to reduce the minimum eligible age of the presidency from 35 to 21)

Now, we’ll stress that it’s hard to determine with any complete certainty exactly when the results will start coming in, but the counts from smaller areas could start being announced as early as 12 (using the marriage equality referendum as a test).

Once the results start being announced, it’s likely that most of the constituencies will announce their results within about three hours of each other.

Again, using the same sex marriage referendum as a yardstick – the first results were announced at 2.30pm, most results were in by 5.30pm, and 7pm saw the official final result.

The final result

It is possible then that we could see the final result of the referendum being announced early in the evening.

Of course, we’ll likely know the result before then (possibly as early as 2pm) as the majority of votes will be counted. Unless, of course, it goes right down to the wire.

Some observers are predicting a final result by as early as 4.30pm this afternoon (or early evening), but again, we’ll have to see how the day pans out.

What then?

Depending on how the votes go, expect to hear statements from both the Yes and No sides of the debate.

It’s likely the Taoiseach will make a speech no matter what the result, and you can expect to hear expressions of victory or defeat from all the prominent campaigners.

Oh, and be sure to follow throughout the day as we’ll be filling you in live as all the results and reactions come in.

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