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Dublin: 2°C Thursday 20 January 2022

This has been the lowest turnout in Irish presidential election history

Just 43.87% of the electorate voted in the presidential election.

Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

FEWER THAN A million and a half people voted in this presidential election, making it the lowest turnout in the history of the State.

The turnout for the presidential election was 43.87%, with 1,492,338 casting a vote, resulting in 1,473,900 valid votes. The Irish electorate comprises of 3,229,672 people.

The lowest turnout had been in 1997, when 47.6% of the electorate or around 1.26 million people voted, and Mary McAleese won. The highest turnout for any presidential election was for the first one in 1945, which was won by the Fianna Fáil candidate Seán T O’Kelly. Around 1 million out of a 1.8 million electorate voted: a turnout of 63%.

  • 1945: 63% (~1m voted / ~1.8m electorate)
  • 1959: 58.3% (~955k voted / 1.67m electorate)
  • 1973: 62% (~1.2m voted / ~1.9m electorate)
  • 1990: 64% (~1.5m voted / ~2.4m electorate)
  • 1997: 47.6% (~1.26m voted / ~2.68m electorate)
  • 2011: 56.1% (1.7m voted / ~3.1m electorate)

Today there were reports from Jobstown, the area where water protesters clashed with Labour leader Joan Burton, that just 9% had turned up to vote.

President election Source: Presidentialelection.ie

In the last presidential election in 2011, 1.7 million people voted out of an electorate of 3.1 million, representing a turnout of 56.1%.

Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election. 

Although not directly comparable, it’s interesting to note the turnout in the last few referendums since it includes a similar electorate figure.

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The Eighth Amendment referendum saw 2,159,655 people vote, which is a voter turnout of 64.13%. This was higher than the same-sex marriage referendum in 2015, which had a turnout of 61%.

The children’s rights referendum in 2012 had a turnout of 34%.

The highest turnout in any referendum was for the 1972 question on joining the European Economic Community when 70.1% turned up to vote.

- with reporting from Stephen McDermott

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