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Voting Guide

Which is green and which is white? Here's your guide to voting today

What time do polls open? What colour are the ballot papers? Can I bring a pen?


IT’S ALMOST TIME for you to take part in two referendums.

The last vote of this nature in Ireland was held in 2019, so you might be a little rusty on the nuts-and-bolts of the process.

That’s where our guide comes in – here’s everything you need to know about voting.

What are the two referendums about?

The very quick answer:

  • The Family referendum proposes changing the Constitution to say that family can be founded on both marriage and other durable relationships. It currently states the family is founded on marriage. This will be on white paper.
  • The Care referendum proposes removing two Articles relating to women in the home, and replacing them with a new Article relating to care provided by family members. This will be on green paper.

The more-detailed-but-still-quick answer:

The in-depth answer:

The official answer:

Make sure you’re registered to vote

Visit to make sure you’re registered to vote.

If your details don’t appear, contact your local council.

If you’re not registered, you won’t be able to vote.*

* You might want to fix that now in time for the local and European elections later this year (and, perhaps, a general election, but let’s not get into that just yet).

Find your polling station and get there by 10pm

The location of your polling station will be written on your polling card.

If you haven’t received a polling card – and it’s not necessary to have, as long as you’re definitely registered to vote - your local council will be able to guide you.

It will also appear under your details on

Polls open at 7am on Friday 8 March and close at 10pm. The rules state that if you’re in the door before 10pm, you’ll be allowed to vote.

Bring ID (even if you have your polling card)

Here’s what is accepted:

  • A passport (either a passport card or passport book)
  • A driving licence
  • A workplace identity card (it must have a photograph)
  • A student identity card (it must have a photograph)
  • A travel document (it must have a photograph)
  • A Public Services Card
  • A bank or credit union account book with your name and address in the constituency

If you’ve none of these, bring proof of address and either a cheque book, a credit card, or a birth or marriage certificate.

While your polling card isn’t absolutely necessary, we still recommend bringing it. Same goes for proof of address – it will help speed things along if there’s any confusion or issue with the information the polling station has about you, but don’t stress about it.

How do I actually cast my vote?

Head to your polling station. The staff will confirm your identity and eligibility.

They’ll hand you stamped ballot papers for the two referendums. The Care referendum is on green paper, and the Family referendum is on white paper. You will then be directed to a polling booth.

Once inside, mark your vote with an X in either the Yes or No box. Don’t write anything else on the ballot paper as it could ultimately be deemed as a spoilt vote. There will be a pencil provided in the booth, but you can bring your own (and yes, if you really want, you can use your own pen rather than pencil).

Fold your ballot paper, and you’ll be directed to the actual ballot box to pop your votes into.



Be careful with campaign material and clothing

Canvassing – described as leafleting, displaying posters, or using a loudspeaker – is not allowed within 50 metres of a polling station, and you could be arrested for it.

Candidates, their agents, party workers, electors (that’s you) and personation agents are allowed to wear party emblems as long as they are not “unduly obstructive or offensive”.

However, what is classed as a party emblem, and in what manner it could be considered unduly obstructive or offensive, isn’t well-defined.

It’s up to the discretion of the presiding officer. If there’s an issue, you may be asked to cover the offending item up, or another arrangement put in place to allow you and others to vote quickly and easily.

Shush! And put your phone away

You can talk to staff, but avoid speaking to other voters. This is most important at the polling booth. It might be an innocent conversation, but polling station staff have a duty to make sure people are able to vote with ease and without interference, and to ensure no canvassing is taking place.

Photography is prohibited in polling stations so just put your phone away until you leave. The selfies can wait, alright?

Supports for disabled voters

You can find detailed information about the supports available here.

When will we know the result?

Counting begins on Saturday morning and the results are expected that evening, but might run into Sunday.

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And finally, let’s spell out the two amendments – first up, Family:

Here how the relevant Articles currently read:

Article 41.1.1°: The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.
Article 41.3.1°: The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.

The proposal on 41.1.1° is to insert the line in bold:

The State recognises the Family, whether founded on marriage or on other durable relationships, as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.

The proposal on Article 41.3.1° is to remove the line in brackets:

“The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, [on which the Family is founded,] and to protect it against attack.”

Now, the Care referendum.

It would impact two Articles:

Article 41.2.1°: In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.
Article 41.2.2°: The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.

The proposal is to remove both and replace it with the new Article 42B:

The State recognises that the provision of care, by members of a family to one another by reason of the bonds that exist among them, gives to Society a support without which the common good cannot be achieved, and shall strive to support such provision.

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