Seanad Electoral Reform Bill 2013 - Houses of the Oireachtas

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postal voter list. 13. Notification for inclusion/exclusion from the postal voter list. ... Amendment of the Electoral Act 1997, to permit a reduction in payments. 48.

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———————— AN BILLE UM ATHCHÓIRIÚ THOGHCHÁIN AN tSEANAID, 2013 SEANAD ELECTORAL REFORM BILL 2013 ———————— Mar a tionscnaíodh As initiated ———————— ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS Section 1. Interpretation. 2. Regulation. 3. Expenses. 4. Repeals. 5. University Constituencies. 6. Panel Constituencies. 7. Declaration of Candidates. 8. Electorate. 9. Postal voter registration. 10. Application for postal voter registration. 11. Requirements for postal voter registration. 12. Notice for the closing date for application for inclusion in the postal voter list. 13. Notification for inclusion/exclusion from the postal voter list. 14. Postal vote procedures, in the State. 15. Application for inclusion in the postal voter list, for those outside the State. 16. Returning officers duties regarding posting ballots to postal voters. 17. Postal vote procedures, outside the State. 18. All ballots within a constituency must be similar. [No. 21 of 2013]

19. The returning officer. 20. Duties of the returning officer. 21. Expenses of a returning officer. 22. Notice of results. 23. Application of Part VII of the Electoral Act 1992, regarding method of election, to Seanad Elections. 24. Application of Part XI of the Electoral Act 1992, regarding agents of candidates, to Seanad Elections. 25. Application of Part XIII of the Electoral Act 1992, regarding postal voting, to Seanad Elections. 26. The ballot paper. 27. The official mark. 28. Polling Place. 29. Application of personation/voter fraud sections of the Electoral Act 1992 to Seanad Elections. 30. Procedures for voting in a Seanad election in a polling place. 31. The place of the count. 32. Notice for the count. 33. Opening of ballot boxes. 34. Time for the counting of the votes. 35. Scrutiny of voters. 36. Handling of ballot papers by candidates or their agents. 37. Application of Part XIX, procedures for counting votes, of the Electoral Act 1992 to Seanad elections. 38. Application of Part XX, regarding retention, inspection and disposal of documents, of the Electoral Act 1992 to Seanad elections. 39. Application of Part XXI, regarding election petitions, of the Electoral Act 1992 to Seanad elections. 40. Application of Part XXI, regarding electoral offences, of the Electoral Act 1992 to Seanad elections. 41. Applications of sections of the Electoral Act 1992, regarding bribery of officials and other electoral offenses. 42. Where a vacancy arises in Seanad Éireann. 43. Amendment of the Electoral Act 1992, to incorporate this Act. 44. Amendment of the Electoral Act 1997, to incorporate this Act. 2

45. Amendment of the Local Government Act 2001, to incorporate this Act. 46. Expenses payments to offset cost of Seanad Elections. 47. Amendment of the Electoral Act 1997, to permit a reduction in payments. 48. Procedures for a special Seanad election. 49. The vacation of a Seanad seat where the member is elected to the Dáil. 50. Short title, collective citation, construction and commencement. SCHEDULE 1 SCHEDULE 2 Institutions of Higher Education to be included in the University Constituency pertaining to them ————————

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Acts Referred to Civil Service Regulation Act 1956

1956, No. 46

Diplomatic Relations and Immunities Act 1967

1967, No. 8

Electoral Act 1992

1992, No. 23

Electoral Act 1997

1997, No. 25

Electoral (Amendment) Act 1998

1998, No. 4

Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001

2001, No. 38

Electoral (Amendment) Act 2011

2011, No. 14

Holidays (Employees) Act 1973 Local Elections (Disclosure Expenditure) Act 1999

1973, No. 25 of

Donations

and 1999, No. 7

Local Government Act 2001

2001, No. 37

Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act 1938

1938, No. 38

Oireachtas (Ministerial and (Amendment) Act 2001

Parliamentary

Offices) 2001, No. 30

Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 1999

1999, No. 26

Seanad Electoral (University Members) Act 1937

1937, No. 30

Seanad Electoral (University Members) Acts 1937 to 2006 Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act 1947

1947, No. 42

Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Acts 1947 to 2006 Staff of the Houses of the Oireachtas Act 1959

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1959, No. 38

———————— AN BILLE UM ATHCHÓIRIÚ THOGHCHÁIN AN tSEANAID, 2013 SEANAD ELECTORAL REFORM BILL 2013 ————————

BILL 5

entitled

AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS TO SEANAD ÉIREANN WHEREIN THE FRANCHISE IS EXTENDED TO ALL PEOPLE WHO ARE OVER EIGHTEEN AND LEGALLY RESIDENT IN IRELAND AND TO 10 ALL PEOPLE WHO ARE IRISH CITIZENS; TO ALTER THE METHOD THAT GRADUATES OF AN IRISH INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION USE TO ELECT MEMBERS OF THE SEANAD; TO PROVIDE FOR THE CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS TO SEANAD ÉIREANN AND 15 TO AMEND THE SEANAD ELECTORAL (UNIVERSITY MEMBERS) ACTS 1937 TO 2006, THE SEANAD ELECTORAL (PANEL MEMBERS) ACTS, 1947 TO 2006; TO AMEND THE ELECTORAL ACTS 1992 TO 2012; TO AMEND THE MINISTERIAL AND PARLIAMENTARY 20 OFFICES ACT 1938 AND TO PROVIDE FOR RELATED MATTERS. BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS: 1.—In this Act—

Interpretation.

“Act of 1992” means the Electoral Act 1992; 25 “Act of 1997” means the Electoral Act 1997; “Act of 1998” means the Electoral (Amendment) Act 1998; “Act of 1999” means the Local Elections (Disclosure of Donations and Expenditure) Act 1999; “Act of 2001” means the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001; 30 “Act of 2011” means the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2011; “ballot paper” has the meaning assigned to it by section 27 of this Act; “ballot paper envelope” shall have the meaning an envelope marked “ballot paper envelope”; 5

“candidate” except where the context otherwise requires, means a Seanad candidate; “civil servant” and “civil service” have the same meaning, respectively, as in the Civil Service Regulation Act 1956 as amended by section 17 of the Staff of the Houses of the Oireachtas Act 1959;

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“certificate of achievement” shall have the meaning a letter addressed to the returning officer, or presiding officer, from the registrar, or secretary, as may be appropriate, of a university or institute of higher education in the State which states that the person named in the letter has been conferred with a qualification which is 10 at least HETAC level 7, as defined by the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 1999; “covering envelope” shall have the meaning an envelope addressed to the returning officer; “Dáil” means Dáil Éireann;

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“Dáil election” means an election of a member or members to serve in the Dáil and includes a bye-election as well as a general election; “Dáil elector” means a person entitled to vote at a Dáil election; “declarations of candidacy” means a letter to the returning officer, in which an individual declares their intent to run in a named 20 Seanad constituency; “election”, except where the context otherwise requires, means a Seanad election; “elector”, except where the context otherwise requires, means a Seanad elector; 25 “excluded day” means a day which is a Sunday, Good Friday or a day which is declared to be a public holiday by the Holidays (Employees) Act 1973, or a day which by virtue of a statute or proclamation is a public holiday; “general election” means a general election for members of the Dáil 30 held in accordance with subsection 2° of section 3 of Article 16 of the Constitution; “letter of attestation” means a letter to the returning officer which attests to a named member of a panel’s “knowledge and practical experience” relating to that panel, the person has declared them- 35 selves to be a member of; “local election” means an election under Part 4 of the Local Government Act 2001; “local government elector” means a person entitled to vote at a local election; 40 “the Minister” means the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government; “notice of election” has the meaning assigned to it by section 44 of the Electoral Act 1992; “notice of poll” has the meaning assigned to it by section 87 of the 45 Electoral Act 1992 and, where every reference to “Dáil election” and “election” shall be construed and have effect as a reference to a Seanad election; 6

“the official mark” has the meaning assigned to it by section 89 of the Electoral Act 1992 and, where every reference to “Dáil election” and “election” shall be construed and have effect as a reference to an election in a Seanad election; 5

“personation agent” has the meaning assigned to it by section 60 of the Electoral Act 1992; “petition” means a petition presented to the High Court under this Act;

“postal voter” means a person whose name is entered in the postal 10 voters list; “postal voters ballot box” has the meaning assigned to it by Section 69 of the Electoral Act 1992; “postal voters list” means the list prepared pursuant to section 9; “presiding officer” has the meaning assigned to it by section 95 of 15 the Electoral Act 1992, any person recognised as a presiding officer in a Dáil election shall also be a presiding officer in a Seanad election; “the quota” has the meaning assigned to it by section 120 of the Electoral Act 1992; 20 “registration authority” except where the context otherwise requires, means the council of a county or the corporation of a county borough; “Seanad” means Seanad Éireann; “Seanad candidate” shall refer to any person who declares their 25 candidacy for election in any Seanad constituency; “Seanad constituency” means any constituency for election to the Seanad whether that be a university constituency, as described by section 5 or a panel constituency, as described by section 6; “Seanad election” means an election of a member or members to 30 serve in the Seanad; “Seanad elector” means a person entitled to vote at a Seanad election. 2.—(1) The Minister may make regulations prescribing any matter or thing that is referred to in this Act as prescribed, and may 35 make regulations to give effect to any matter or thing that is referred to in this Act.

Regulation.

(2) Every regulation made under this Act shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution annulling the regulation is passed by either such House 40 within the next twenty-one days on which that House has sat after the regulation is laid before it, the regulation shall be annulled accordingly but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder. 3.—(1) The expenses incurred by the Minister in the admini45 stration of this Act shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas, and shall be deducted, at a later date from moneys paid 7

Expenses.

to Senators and political parties under section 10 of the Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act 1938 as amended, subject to the provisions of section 46(2) which ensure the cost neutrality of this bill. (2) The expenses incurred by reason of this Act shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out of the Central Fund or the growing produce thereof.

Repeals.

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4.—(1) The Seanad Electoral (University Members) Acts 1937 to 2006, and the Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Acts 1947 to 2006, are repealed in their entirety and, the following regulations are repealed in their entirety— 10 (a) S.I. No. 18/1938 — Seanad Electoral (University Members) (Prescribed Matters) Regulations, 1938; (b) S.I. No. 209/1948 — Department of Local Government. Seanad Electoral (University Members) Act, 1937. Seanad (University Members) General Election Order, 15 1948; (c) S.I. No. 201/1972 — Seanad Electoral (University Members) (Prescribed Matters) (Amendment) Regulations, 1972; (d) S.I. No. 290/2000 — Seanad Electoral (University 20 Members) (Prescribed Matters) (Amendment) Regulations, 2000; (e) S.I. No. 67/2002 — Seanad Electoral (University Members) (Prescribed Matters) (Amendment) Regulations, 2002; 25 (f) S.I. No. 115/2007 — Seanad Electoral (University Members) (Prescribed Matters) (Amendment) Regulations 2007; (g) S.I. No. 207/1948 — Department of Local Government Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act 1947 Seanad 30 General Election (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms) Regulations, 1948; (h) S.I. No. 208/1948 — Department of Local Government Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act 1947. Seanad (Panel Members) General Election Order, 1948; 35 (i) S.I. No. 70/1954 — Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act, 1954 (Date of Commencement) Order, 1954; (j) S.I. No. 91/1954 — Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms) Regulations, 1954; (k) S.I. No. 202/1972 — Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) 40 (Prescribed Forms) (Amendment) Regulations, 1972; (l) S.I. No. 291/2000 — Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms) (Amendment) Regulations, 2000; (m) S.I. No. 68/2002 — Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms) (Amendment) Regulations, 2002; 45 8

(n) S.I. No. 116/2007 — Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed forms) (Amendment) Regulations 2007;

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(o) S.I. No. 191/2007 — Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed forms) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2007; (p) S.I. No. 231/2007 — Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed forms) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2007;

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(q) S.I. No. 283/2009 — Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms) (Amendment) Regulations 2009. (2) Where the Dáil is dissolved, the Seanad is also dissolved. (3) Each poll for a Seanad election shall occur simultaneously with a poll for a Dáil election, unless it is a special Seanad election, as set out in section 48.

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(4) The polling day for a Dáil election shall also be the polling day for the Seanad election. (5) No person shall be a candidate in a Dáil election and also a Seanad election.

(6) Where someone declares their candidacy in a Seanad election, 20 and also receives a valid nomination in a Dáil election, their candidacy in a Seanad election is deemed invalid.

5.—(1) There shall be three university constituencies, one constituency shall be elected by the graduates of the National University of Ireland, the second shall be elected by the graduates of the Uni25 versity of Dublin, and the third shall be elected by the graduates of the institutes of higher education listed in Schedule 2. (2) The Minister may add or amend, as he or she sees fit, the list of institutes of higher education listed in Schedule 2. (3) Each Seanad university constituency shall elect two members 30 of Seanad Éireann. (4) For each Seanad university constituency— (a) only a person who may vote in a university constituency, may declare their candidacy in that constituency,

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(b) any person, who would not be disqualified for membership of the Dáil under section 41 of the Electoral Act 1992, and may vote in that university constituency, may declare their candidacy in that constituency, (c) no person may declare themselves to be a candidate in more than one university constituency in a given election.

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(5) For the purpose of this section a graduate shall mean, a person who has been awarded a degree, other than an honorary degree, from an institution which is of at least HETAC level 7, as defined by the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 1999.

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University Constituencies.

Panel Constituencies.

6.—(1) There shall be five panel constituencies, one for each of the five panels of candidates that contains those people who have knowledge and practical experience in the following areas— (a) National Language and Culture, Literature, Art, Education and similar professional interests, the members of this panel shall be candidates in the Cultural constituency;

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(b) Agriculture and allied interests, and Fisheries, the members of this panel shall be candidates in the Agricultural constituency; 10 (c) Labour, whether organised or unorganised, the members of this panel shall be candidates in the Workers constituency; (d) Industry and Commerce, including banking, finance, accountancy, engineering and architecture, the members 15 of this panel shall be candidates in the Professional constituency; (e) Public Administration and social services, including voluntary social activities, the members of this panel shall be candidates in the Civic constituency. 20 (2) The Civic, Cultural, and Workers constituencies shall each elect nine members of Seanad Éireann, the Agricultural and the Professional constituencies shall each elect eight members of Seanad Éireann. (3) Any local government elector who would not be disqualified 25 for membership of the Dáil under section 41 of the Electoral Act 1992, may declare themselves a member of any of the panels; no person may declare themselves to be a member of more than one panel in a given election. (4) Where a member of a panel presents to the returning officer 30 with at least one thousand, uniquely, and consecutively numbered letters, addressed to the returning officer, from local government electors who attest to that person’s surfeit of “knowledge and practical experience” within the interests and services of the panel they have declared themselves to be a member of, then that person is 35 deemed to be a candidate in the given panel constituency. (5) No person, who is a local government elector, may attest to the “knowledge and practical experience” of more than one member of any panel, in a given election. (6) Where a person attests to more than one member’s “know- 40 ledge and practical experience” all attestations by that person are deemed invalid. (7) Where a candidate declares their candidacy in a given election, and it is not accompanied by at least one thousand letters of attestation, or it is later discovered that less than one thousand letters 45 of attestation, which were presented to the returning officer, were valid, then that person’s candidacy is deemed invalid. (8) Should a person be elected and should, as a result of a petition, their candidacy later be deemed to be invalid, they become disqualified as a member of the Seanad. 50 10

(9) Every letter of attestation to the returning officer, must mark clearly, the name of the candidate, the panel that candidate is a member of, the name of the person who is attesting to the “knowledge and practical experience” of the given candidate, the address 5 of the person who is attesting to the “knowledge and practical experience” of the given candidate, and an acknowledgment that the letter of attestation is a public document, which will be published. A letter of attestation, which in the opinion of the returning officer does not comply with the requirements of this subsection, may be deemed 10 invalid, by the returning officer. (10) Where an individual, who would be disqualified for membership of the Dáil under section 41 of the Electoral Act 1992, declares their candidacy in a Seanad election, or any other person declares their candidacy in a Seanad election, and it is found that their identi15 fication, or their supporting documentation was not valid at the time of the declaration of candidacy, then their candidacy is deemed invalid. (11) The Minister may, through regulation, create an electronic, searchable, public database of signed letters of attestation for any 20 candidate, in any Seanad election. 7.—(1) No person may declare themselves to be a candidate in a university constituency, and a panel constituency, in a given election. (2) All candidates, and members of a panel, must declare their candidacy to the returning officer, not less than fourteen days before 25 the polling day. (3) All supporting documentation, including but not limited to: documents of identification, letters of attestation, proof of address, certificates of achievement, must be delivered to the returning officer not less than fourteen days before polling day. 30

(4) (a) The returning officer must provide such forms as are necessary to assist any candidate declare their candidacy, or any member of a panel, their membership, including, but not limited to, sample letters of attestation and, sample certificates of achievement.

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(b) These forms may be provided through the Oireachtas website. (5) All declarations of candidacy, and all supporting documentation must be made available, publicly, on the Oireachtas website, as soon after the declaration of candidacy as is practical.

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(6) Where a candidate presents the returning officer with letters of attestation, these letters must be bound, and numbered sequentially, from one to the total number of letters of attestation presented.

(7) No person may declare themselves to be a candidate in a 45 Seanad election who is not eligible for election to the Dáil, as per Part IX of the Act of 1992. (8) The returning officer shall rule on the validity of each declaration of candidacy within one hour after its delivery to them and may rule that it is invalid if, but only if, they consider that it is not 50 properly made out, or signed, or not accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. 11

Declaration of Candidates.

(9) The returning officer shall object to the name of a candidate in a declaration of candidature if such name— (a) is not a name by which the candidate is commonly known; or (b) is misleading and likely to cause confusion; or

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(c) is unduly long; or (d) contains a political reference; and, where a returning officer so objects, they shall allow the candidate, to amend the name and, if it is not so amended to the returning officer’s satisfaction, the returning officer may amend it, as they 10 think fit, after consultation with the candidate, or may rule that the declaration of candidacy paper is invalid as not being properly made out. (10) The returning officer shall object to the description of a candidate in a declaration of candidacy which is, in their opinion, incor- 15 rect, insufficient to identify the candidate or unnecessarily long or which contains a political reference. Where the returning officer so objects, they shall allow the candidate to amend the description and, if it is not so amended to the returning officer’s satisfaction, the returning officer may amend or delete it, as they think fit, after con- 20 sultation with the candidate, or may rule that the declaration of candidacy is invalid as not being properly made out. (11) When the returning officer has ruled on the validity of a declaration of candidacy, they shall put a note of their decision on the declaration of candidacy and shall sign the note. If the returning 25 officer rules that the declaration of candidacy is invalid, they shall include a statement of their reasons. The returning officer’s decision under this section shall be final subject only to reversal on a petition questioning the election. (12) As soon as practicable after ruling on the validity of a declar- 30 ation of candidature, the returning officer shall give, by post or otherwise, notice in writing of their ruling to the candidate. (13) Every person in respect of whom a declaration of candidacy has, under this section, been determined to be valid and whose candidature is not withdrawn in accordance with subsection (14) or (15) 35 shall stand validly nominated as a candidate. (14) (a) A candidate may withdraw their candidature by a notice of withdrawal signed by the candidate and delivered in person by the candidate to the returning officer not later than the hour of 12 noon on the day (disregarding any 40 excluded day) next following the latest date for receiving declaration of candidacy. (b) Where the returning officer is satisfied that a candidate wishes to withdraw their candidature and that the candidate is unable to attend, withdrawal may be effected by 45 delivering to the returning officer, not later than the said hour, a notice of withdrawal signed by the candidate and by the person delivering the notice. (15) (a) Where, not less than forty-eight hours before the latest time for receiving declarations of candidacy the returning 50 12

officer becomes satisfied that a candidate standing nominated has died, the returning officer shall immediately give public notice to that effect and the candidature of the candidate shall be deemed to have been withdrawn. 5

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(b) Where, at any time during the period beginning forty-eight hours before the latest time for receiving declarations of candidacy and ending on the commencement of the poll, the returning officer becomes satisfied that a candidate standing nominated for election has died, then that candidates candidature is deemed invalid. (16) A person shall not be entitled to have their name inserted in a ballot paper as a candidate at a Seanad election unless they have been declared in the manner provided by this Act and their declaration has been ruled as valid by the returning officer.

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(17) The returning officer shall, as soon as practicable after they have ruled that a declaration of candidature is valid, cause a notice to be displayed on the Oireachtas website stating the name and description of the person whose candidature has been declared, and the constituency they are contesting.

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(18) The returning officer shall, immediately on the delivery to them of a notice of withdrawal under subsection (14), give public notice of the withdrawal.

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(19) (a) If the proceedings for, or in connection with, the declaration of candidates are obstructed by violence the returning officer may adjourn the proceedings to a later hour on the same day or to the next following day (disregarding any excluded day) and, if the returning officer so considers it necessary, the returning officer may further adjourn the proceedings until such obstruction shall have ceased. (b) Where any proceedings for or in connection with such declarations of candidacy are adjourned under this section, the returning officer shall so inform the Minister who may, by order, postpone the latest time for receiving declarations of candidacy in the Seanad election for a period equal to the period of such adjournment. (20) If at 12 noon on the day (disregarding any excluded day) next following the latest date for receiving declarations—

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(a) the number of candidates standing nominated exceeds the number of vacancies to be filled, the returning officer shall adjourn the Seanad election and take a poll in accordance with this Act, or (b) the number of candidates standing nominated is equal to or less than the number of vacancies to be filled, the returning officer shall forthwith declare the candidates standing nominated to be elected and shall return their names to the Minister in the manner provided for in subsection (21) and give public notice in accordance with the provisions of section 23. (21) (a) The return of a member or members to serve in the Seanad shall be made by a certificate of their name or their names endorsed on the writ for the constituency concerned under the hand of the returning officer. 13

(b) The returning officer shall as soon as possible after the ascertainment of the result of the election deliver the return to the Minister and may for that purpose, if the returning officer so thinks fit, dispatch it by registered post.

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(c) A return so dispatched shall be transmitted to the Minister free of charge by the earliest practicable post. (22) Where, under subsection (9) of this section, the returning officer objects to a name of a candidate in a declaration of candidacy and the name is amended, if as a consequence of this the name of 10 the candidate in the letters of attestation attached to the declaration of candidacy no longer agree with the name of the candidate, as amended, this shall not be grounds for considering the candidate’s candidacy invalid.

Electorate.

8.—(1) A person who is registered as a local government elector 15 may if they choose, vote in any Seanad constituency. (2) A person, who is a citizen of Ireland, and holder of an Irish passport, who would be allowed vote in a local election if they were resident in Ireland, but are now resident, temporarily or permanently, in another jurisdiction, may register for a postal ballot 20 through the appropriate embassy, or consulate. (3) Where a polling day for a special Seanad election has been set any person who might vote in a Seanad election may apply for inclusion in the postal voters list before the last date for making claims for inclusion. 25

Postal voter registration.

9.—(1) The registration authority shall enter in the postal voters list for Seanad elections, the name of every elector who might ordinarily be included in a local election postal voter list, and not later than the last date for making claims for correction in the draft register. 30 (2) Every Irish embassy and consulate shall, for the purpose of this Act, be a registration authority for Seanad elections. (3) Where the registration authority is an embassy or consulate, the last date for making claims for inclusion in the postal voters list, is fourteen days before polling day. 35 (4) Each registration authority must record, with every valid application in the postal voters list for Seanad elections, the constituency the applicant wishes to vote in, and in the case of university constituencies confirm that the applicant presents a certificate of attainment for the appropriate constituency. 40 (5) Each registration authority shall, upon the passage of the deadline for inclusion in the postal voters list appropriate to that registration authority, send by electronic means, in a manner and format which has been defined by the returning officer, a list of all those who have made valid applications for inclusion in the Seanad 45 election postal voters list, the constituency they wish to vote in, and their registered address. (6) Where a polling day for a special Seanad election has been set, the registration authority must enter every person, who makes a valid application, for inclusion to the postal voter list, before the last 50 14

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date for making claims for inclusion in the postal voters list, which is fourteen days before polling day. Each registration authority shall, upon the passage of the deadline for inclusion in the postal voters list send by electronic means, in a manner and format which has been defined by the returning officer, a list of all those who have made valid applications for inclusion in the Seanad election postal voters list, the Seanad constituency they wish to vote in, and their registered address.

10.—(1) The following provisions shall apply in relation to an 10 application to be entered in the postal voters list pursuant to section 9—

Application for postal voter registration.

(a) the application shall be in the form directed by the Minister;

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(b) the application shall be signed by the applicant and completed in accordance with the instructions provided thereon and shall be accompanied by a certificate or a statutory declaration, as the case may require; (c) the application form, duly completed, and the certificate or declaration shall be delivered or sent by post so as to be received by the registration authority not later than the last date for making claims for corrections in the draft register. (2) An applicant to be entered in the postal voters list shall furnish to the registration authority in support of the application—

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(a) in every other case, a statutory declaration in the form directed by the Minister, and (b) a declaration concerning which Seanad Constituency the applicant wished to vote in, and

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(c) where the applicant wished to vote in a university constituency, a certificate of achievement confirming that they are a graduate of an appropriate institution.

11.—(1) An applicant to be entered in the postal voters list pursuant to section 9 shall furnish to the registration authority any information or documents in the applicant’s possession or procurement 35 which the authority may require so as to be satisfied that the applicant is a person to whom that section applies.

Requirements for postal voter registration.

(2) Whenever a registration authority requires information or documents from an applicant pursuant to subsection (1) the applicant shall furnish the authority with the information or documents within 40 the time (being not less than 7 days from the day on which the request is made) specified in the requirement and, if the applicant does not furnish the required information or, as the case may be, documents within the time so specified, the application shall be deemed to have been withdrawn.

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12.—(1) The registration authority shall, within the period of fourteen days ending on the qualifying date for registration as an elector, arrange for the giving of public notice of— 15

Notice for the closing date for application for inclusion in the postal voter list.

(a) the category of electors entitled to apply to be entered in the postal voters list pursuant to section 9, (b) the manner in which, and the time before which, applications must be submitted, and (c) the times and places at which application forms may be obtained.

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(2) The registration authority shall arrange for the provision of application forms at such times and places as are specified in a notice pursuant to subsection (1) and an application form shall be supplied free of charge to any person applying therefor. 10

Notification for inclusion/exclusion from the postal voter list.

13.—(1) Where the registration authority is satisfied that an applicant— (a) is an elector to whom section 9 applies, (b) has duly completed the application form, and (c) has furnished the certificate or, as the case may be, statu- 15 tory declaration required under section 10, the registration authority shall, within one week— (i) rule that the application is granted and mark the application form accordingly, and (ii) notify the applicant of the decision.

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(2) Where the registration authority is not satisfied that an applicant— (a) is an elector to whom section 9 applies, or (b) has duly completed the application form, or (c) has furnished the certificate or, as the case may be, statu- 25 tory declaration required under section 10, the registration authority shall, within one week— (i) rule that the application is refused and mark the application form accordingly, and (ii) notify the applicant of the decision and of the reason 30 therefor. (3) (a) Subject to paragraph (b), whenever an application is received by a registration authority after the date specified in section 9, the application shall be disregarded and the applicant shall be notified accordingly, within one 35 week. (b) As respects the year in which this Part comes into operation the Minister may, by order, appoint a date to be the latest date for receiving applications in lieu of the date specified for this purpose in section 9 and section 10 40 and a period for giving public notice in lieu of the period specified in section 12 and paragraph (a) shall be construed accordingly as respects that year. 16

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14.—The provisions of Part XIII of the Electoral Act of 1992 shall apply to the issue of ballot papers to, and the return of such ballot papers by, electors at a Seanad election and whose names are entered in the postal voters list pursuant to section 9 subject to the following modifications—

Postal vote procedures, in the State.

(a) an elector whose name is so entered in the postal voters list, in order to vote, shall in a Garda Síochána station in the presence of a member of the Garda Síochána do the following things in the following order— 10

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(i) produce to the member of the Garda Síochána the envelope addressed to the elector pursuant to section 15 of that Act, the ballot paper (in relation to which the member of the Garda Síochána shall establish that it is unmarked) and a form of declaration of identity in the form directed by the Minister; (ii) complete and sign the said declaration of identity;

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(iii) hand the declaration of identity to the member of the Garda Síochána who shall, on being satisfied as to the identity of the person who has signed the declaration, witness the signature and stamp the declaration of identity with the stamp of the Garda Síochána station and destroy the envelope addressed to the elector; (iv) mark, in secret, the ballot paper;

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(v) place the marked ballot paper in the ballot paper envelope, and effectually seal such envelope; (vi) place the ballot paper envelope and the completed declaration of identity in the covering envelope and effectually seal that envelope;

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and shall send the last-mentioned envelope by post to the returning officer; (b) a reference to “receipt”, in relation to documents appropriate to such electors, shall be construed as a reference to “declaration of identity”; and

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(c) a reference to “receipt duly signed”, in relation to such documents, shall be construed as a reference to “declaration of identity duly signed and witnessed and stamped with the stamp of the Garda Síochána station”.

15.—(1) In this section— 40 “appropriate registration authority” means the registration authority for consular district associated with a given consular post; “consular district” has the meaning contained in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations done at Vienna on the twenty-fourth day of April, 1963, as set out in the Second Schedule to the said 45 Convention; 17

Application for inclusion in the postal voter list, for those outside the State.

“consular post” has the meaning contained in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations done at Vienna on the twenty-fourth day of April, 1963, as set out in the Second Schedule to the said Convention; “qualified person” means a citizen of Ireland who has reached the age of 18 years and is temporarily, or permanently, resident outside the State;

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“member of a mission” means a person— (a) falling within the definition of “members of the mission” contained in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic 10 Relations done at Vienna on the eighteenth day of April, 1961, as set out in the First Schedule to the Diplomatic Relations and Immunities Act, 1967, or (b) falling within the definition of “members of the consular post” contained in the Vienna Convention on Consular 15 Relations done at Vienna on the twenty-fourth day of April, 1963, as set out in the Second Schedule to the said Convention, or (c) who is a member of a Permanent Mission of Ireland to an international organisation. 20 (2) A person, who satisfies the appropriate registration authority that they are a qualified person, shall be registered by a member of the mission appropriate to their current residence as a postal voter. (3) A qualified person may, not later than the date specified for that purpose in section 9, send to the appropriate registration auth- 25 ority a statement in the form directed by the Minister providing the following information— (a) their name, (b) their current address, (c) their passport number,

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(d) the constituency they wish to vote in, and any supporting documentation as may be required by the member of the mission, including, but not limited to, a certificate of achievement appropriate to the constituency the qualified person wishes to vote in. 35 (4) Every statement by a person pursuant to subsection (3) shall be accompanied by a certificate in the form directed by the Minister from a member of the mission which is acting as a registration authority certifying that member of the mission has satisfied themselves that such person is a qualified person. 40 (5) A person who submits a statement to a registration authority pursuant to subsection (3) shall supply to the registration authority any information which such registration authority may require for the purposes of this section, and the provisions of section 133(1) of the Electoral Act 1992 shall apply to a requirement by a registration 45 authority under this section.

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16.—A returning officer for a Seanad election shall, as soon as practicable after the adjournment of a Seanad election for the purpose of taking a poll, send to each Seanad elector whose name is on the postal voters list for the Seanad election a ballot paper for the relevant Seanad Constituency and form of receipt in the form directed by the Minister, and if the ballot paper duly marked by the said elector and accompanied by the said receipt duly signed by them is received by the returning officer before 12pm on the day eight days after polling day, it shall be counted by the returning officer.

Returning officers duties regarding posting ballots to postal voters.

17.—(1) The provisions of this section shall apply to the issue of ballot papers to, and the return of such ballot papers by, electors whose names are entered in the postal voters list pursuant to section 15 subject to the following modifications—

Postal vote procedures, outside the State.

(a) an elector whose name is so entered in the postal voters list, in order to cast their vote, shall, in the presence of an authorised person and no other person, do the following things in the following order— (i) produce to the authorised person a ballot paper (in relation to which the authorised person shall satisfy himself that it is unmarked) and a form of declaration of identity in the form directed by the Minister; (ii) complete and sign the said declaration of identity;

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(iii) hand the declaration of identity to the authorised person who shall, if they are satisfied as to the identity of the person who has signed the declaration of identity, witness the signature; (iv) mark, in secret, their ballot paper; (v) place the marked ballot paper in the ballot paper envelope and effectually seal such envelope;

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(vi) place the ballot paper envelope and the completed declaration of identity in the covering envelope and effectually seal that envelope; (b) a reference to “receipt”, in relation to documents appropriate to such electors, shall be construed as a reference to “declaration of identity”; and (c) a reference to “receipt duly signed”, in relation to such documents, shall be construed as a reference to “declaration of identity duly signed and witnessed”.

(2) In this section “authorised person” means a person appointed 40 by the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs to be an authorised person for the purposes of this section. 18.—(1) The ballot paper to be sent to postal voters shall be in the same form as, and indistinguishable from, the ballot papers delivered to other electors, voting in the same Seanad Constituency. 45

(2) The receipt sent with the ballot paper to postal voters shall be in the form directed by the Minister and shall have printed thereon the instructions to the voter.

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All ballots within a constituency must be similar.

The returning officer.

19.—(1) In this Act “the returning officer” shall refer to the Clerk of the Seanad. (2) The returning officer may, in respect of any of the Seanad constituencies, appoint an appropriate person to be an assistant returning officer for the constituency.

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(3) The duties of an assistant returning officer appointed under subsection (2) shall include the determination and declaration of the result of the poll and the giving of public notice under section 23 and, if the appointment includes an appointment to receive declarations of candidacy, shall also include the ruling on declarations of candi- 10 dacy and compliance with section 7. (4) An appointment under subsection (2) may be revoked by the returning officer and, where the appointment is so revoked or the deputy returning officer dies, resigns or becomes incapable of acting during a Seanad election, another deputy returning officer shall be 15 appointed pursuant to and in accordance with the said subsection (2) to replace them. (5) Where a vacancy occurs in the Clerk of the Seanad the Minister may appoint a person to act as returning officer during the period of the vacancy. 20 (6) Where the returning officer is prevented by illness or other reasonable cause from performing all or any of their duties, the Minister shall appoint a person to act as returning officer for the performance of those duties during the period of the prevention. (7) References in this Act to returning officers shall, where appro- 25 priate, include references to assistant, and acting returning officers.

Duties of the returning officer.

20.—It shall be the general duty of the returning officer to do all such acts and things as may be necessary for effectually conducting a Seanad election in accordance with this Act, to ascertain and declare the results of the election and to furnish to the Minister a 30 return of the persons elected as members of the Seanad.

Expenses of a returning officer.

21.—The provisions of section 32 of the Electoral Act 1992, relating to payment of returning officers expenses, shall apply to Seanad elections and for that purpose, in this section of that Act every reference to “returning officer” shall be construed and have effect as a 35 reference to the returning officer of a Seanad election.

Notice of results.

22.—(1) The returning officer shall give public notice in the form directed by the Minister of the names and descriptions of the candidates elected and, in the case of a contested election, of the total number of votes given for each candidate, whether elected or not, of 40 any transfer of votes and of the total number of votes credited to each candidate at the end of the count at which such transfer took place. (2) The returning officer shall send a copy of the notice referred to in subsection (1) to the Minister and to each person elected and 45 shall send a copy of the statement referred to in section 33(5) to the Minister.

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23.—The provisions of Part VII of the Electoral Act 1992, relating to the method of election, shall apply to Seanad elections and for that purpose, in this part of that Act every reference to “Dáil election” and “election” shall be construed and have effect as a reference to an election in a Seanad election.

Application of Part VII of the Electoral Act 1992, regarding method of election, to Seanad Elections.

24.—The provisions of Part XI of the Electoral Act 1992, relating to the Agents of Candidates, shall apply to Seanad elections and for that purpose, in this part of that Act every reference to “Dáil election” and “election” shall be construed and have effect as a reference 10 to an election in a Seanad election.

Application of Part XI of the Electoral Act 1992, regarding agents of candidates, to Seanad Elections.

25.—The provisions of Part XIII of the Electoral Act 1992, relating to postal voting, shall apply to Seanad elections and for that purpose, in this part of that Act—

Application of Part XIII of the Electoral Act 1992, regarding postal voting, to Seanad Elections.

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(a) every reference to “Dáil election” and “election” shall be construed and have effect as a reference to an election in a Seanad election; (b) every reference to “constituency” shall be construed and have the effect as a reference to a Seanad constituency.

26.—(1) The ballot of a voter at a Seanad election shall consist of 20 a paper (in this Act referred to as a “ballot paper”) in the form specified in Schedule 1. (2) Ballot papers shall be prepared in accordance with the following directions—

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(a) a ballot paper shall contain the names and descriptions of the candidates whose candidacy has been deemed valid, as shown in their respective declarations of candidature. The names shall be arranged alphabetically in the order of the surnames or, if there are 2 or more candidates bearing the same surname, in the alphabetical order of their other names or, if their surnames and other names are the same, in such order as shall be determined by lot by the returning officer, (b) the surname of each candidate shall be printed in large capitals, their full name shall be printed in small capitals and their address and occupation, if any, as appearing in their declaration of candidature shall be printed in ordinary characters, (c) the list of candidates shall be arranged either in one continuous column or in 2 or more columns in such manner (without departing from the alphabetical order) as, in the opinion of the returning officer, is best for marking and counting, but subject to the restriction that the spaces on the ballot paper within which the candidates’ names and descriptions appear shall be the same for each of the candidates, (d) the ballot papers shall be numbered consecutively on the back and the back of the counterfoil attached to each ballot paper shall bear the same number. The numbers on the ballot papers shall be printed in the smallest 21

The ballot paper.

characters compatible with legibility and shall be printed on or about the centre of the paper, (e) the top right hand column on the ballot paper shall bear such markings as to ensure that nothing may be written therein,

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(f) a ballot paper may include a photograph of each candidate in accordance with such requirements as may be prescribed, (g) apart from anything permitted by the form specified in Schedule 1, nothing shall appear on the ballot paper 10 except in accordance with these directions.

The official mark.

27.—(1) A ballot paper shall at the time of issue be marked with an official mark (in this Act referred to as “the official mark”), which shall be either embossed or perforated so as to be visible on both sides of the paper and the returning officer shall provide a sufficient 15 number of marking instruments for this purpose. (2) The returning officer shall ensure that the official mark is kept secret before the taking of the poll and that an interval of not less than seven years shall intervene between each use of the same official mark at a Seanad election. 20

Polling Place.

28.—Polls for Seanad elections shall take place in the same polling places as Dáil elections, and during the same hours.

Application of personation/voter fraud sections of the Electoral Act 1992 to Seanad Elections.

29.—The provisions of sections 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110 and 111 of the Electoral Act 1992, relating to the poll, shall apply to Seanad elections and for that pur- 25 pose, in these sections of that Act— (a) every reference to “Dáil election” and “election” shall be construed and have effect as a reference to an election in a Seanad election; (b) every reference to “Dáil electors” and “electors” shall be 30 construed and have effect as a reference to electors in a Seanad election.

Procedures for voting in a Seanad election in a polling place.

30.—(1) Upon attending a polling place, on the polling day, any local government elector may present themselves to the presiding officer, and subject to the provisions provided for through subsection 35 (2), the presiding officer shall deliver a ballot paper to a local government elector who applies therefor and declares their name and address, and the Seanad constituency they wish to vote in. (2) Immediately before a ballot paper is delivered to a Seanad elector— 40 (a) the number (including polling district letter) and name of the elector as stated in the register shall be called out, (b) if the elector wishes to vote in a university constituency, the presiding officer must request a certificate of achievement from the relevant University or Institute of 45 Technology, 22

(c) if the elector cannot provide the presiding officer with a certificate of achievement from the relevant University or Institute of Technology the elector may choose to vote in a different Seanad Constituency, 5

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(d) whereupon the Seanad Constituency is decided, the ballot paper for that constituency, shall be marked with the official mark, (e) a mark shall be placed in the register against the number of the elector to denote that a ballot paper has been issued to that elector but without showing the number of the ballot paper so issued.

(3) A Seanad elector on receiving the ballot paper shall (subject to the provisions of section 103 of the Electoral Act 1992) go alone into one of the compartments in the polling station and there shall 15 secretly record their vote on the ballot paper and fold the paper so that their vote is concealed. The elector shall then return to the presiding officer’s table, show the back of the folded paper to the presiding officer so as to disclose the official mark. The elector shall then be offered the choice of either— 20

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(a) posting their ballot themselves, or (b) put the folded ballot paper into a ballot box, which shall, upon the close of polls be sealed by the presiding officer, and posted, to the returning officer, in a manner that may include the secure conveyance of the sealed ballot box by members of an Garda Síochána, and shall leave the polling station as soon as they have put their ballot paper into the ballot box. (4) Where an elector chooses to post their ballot themselves—

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(a) the presiding officer will give the elector a ballot paper envelope, a covering envelope, and a declaration of identity, to the elector; (b) the elector will place the marked ballot paper in the ballot paper envelope, and effectually seal the envelope; (c) the elector will sign the declaration of identity;

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(d) the presiding officer will witness it; (e) the elector will then place the ballot paper envelope and the completed declaration of identity in the covering envelope and effectually seal that envelope. They shall then leave the polling station.

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(5) For the purpose of this section a reference to “receipt”, in relation to documents appropriate to such electors, shall be construed as a reference to “declaration of identity”; and, a reference to “receipt duly signed”, in relation to such documents, shall be construed as a reference to “declaration of identity duly signed and 45 witnessed”. (6) After the polling day, and as soon as is practicable, the presiding officer will make a written report to the returning officer, at a given polling station, which will include, the total number of Seanad electors who have voted, and the total number who voted in each of 50 the eight Seanad constituencies. 23

The place of the count.

31.—(1) The returning officer shall appoint a place as the place at which they will count the votes and shall, at the place so appointed, provide suitable accommodation and all furniture and equipment necessary for counting the votes in accordance with Part XIX of the Electoral Act 1992, and shall make adequate arrangements for the safe custody of the ballot papers and other documents relating to the Seanad election concerned, subject to subsection (2).

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(2) Where a candidate has died, withdrawn their candidacy, or has had their candidacy deemed invalid, or for whatever other reason, a person whose name is on the ballot but is no longer a valid candidate, 10 the returning officer shall— (a) exclude the candidate whose candidacy has been deemed invalid; (b) arrange the transferable papers in sub-parcels according to the next available preferences recorded thereon for 15 continuing candidates and transfer each sub-parcel to the candidate for whom the preference is recorded; (c) make a separate sub-parcel of the non-transferable papers and set them aside as finally dealt with, such papers being, for the purposes of section 127(1), of the Electoral 20 Act 1992, described as non-transferable papers not effective.

Notice for the count.

32.—(1) Not less than 4 days (disregarding any excluded day) before the polling day the returning officer shall give written notice to each candidate of the time and place at which they will proceed 25 to count the votes and of the number of agents each candidate may appoint to be present at the counting of the votes. (2) The returning officer, their assistants and clerks, members of the Garda Síochána on duty and the agents of the candidates duly appointed for the purpose under this Act may be present at the coun- 30 ting of the votes and no other person shall be present without the permission of the returning officer. (3) The returning officer shall give the agents of the candidates all such reasonable facilities for overseeing the proceedings at the counting of the votes (including, in particular, facilities for satisfying 35 themselves that the ballot papers have been correctly sorted) and all such information with respect thereto as they can give them consistent with the orderly conduct of the proceedings and the performance of their functions.

Opening of ballot boxes.

33.—(1) At 12pm on the day eight days after the polling day, and 40 at the place appointed under section 32, the returning officer shall, in the presence of the agents of the candidates, open the ballot boxes and extract the ballot papers therefrom. (2) The ballot papers extracted by the returning officer from each ballot box shall be sorted into the eight different Seanad con- 45 stituencies, and be counted. (3) The returning officer shall then mix together the whole of the ballot papers within each Seanad constituency and shall forthwith 24

proceed to count the votes in accordance with Part XIX of the Electoral Act 1992.

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(4) The returning officer, while counting and recording the number of ballot papers, shall cause the said papers to be kept face upwards and shall take due precautions to prevent any person from seeing the numbers printed on the backs of the said papers.

(5) The ballot papers extracted by the returning officer from each ballot box shall be counted and their total number shall be compared with the number shown in the reports returned to the returning 10 officer by the presiding officers. The returning officer shall prepare a statement showing the result of this comparison in respect of all the ballot boxes and they shall, on request allow the agent of any candidate to copy the statement. 34.—The returning officer shall, so far as practicable, proceed con15 tinuously with the counting of the votes, except during time for refreshment, and excluding (except so far as the returning officer and the candidates otherwise agree) the hours between 11pm and 9am.

Time for the counting of the votes.

35.—The returning officer shall cause the ballot papers to be scrutinised for the purpose of discovering any papers liable to be rejected 20 as invalid and shall, in accordance with Part XIX of the Electoral Act 1992, ascertain and record the number of votes given to each candidate.

Scrutiny of voters.

36.—Candidates or their agents shall not handle ballot papers during the counting of the votes.

Handling of ballot papers by candidates or their agents.

37.—Part XIX of the Electoral Act 1992, insofar as it refers to the rules for the counting of votes, shall apply to Seanad elections and for that purpose, in the said part of that Act every reference to the “Dáil” shall be construed and have effect as a reference to the Seanad.

Application of Part XIX, procedures for counting votes, of the Electoral Act 1992 to Seanad elections.

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38.—Part XX of the Electoral Act 1992, insofar as it refers to the retention, inspection and disposal of documents, shall apply to Seanad elections and for that purpose, in the said part of that Act every reference to the “Dáil electors” shall be construed and have effect as a reference to the “Seanad electors”, and every reference 35 to the “Clerk of the Dáil” shall be construed and have effect as a reference to the “Clerk of the Seanad”.

Application of Part XX, regarding retention, inspection and disposal of documents, of the Electoral Act 1992 to Seanad elections.

39.—Part XXI of the Electoral Act 1992, insofar as it refers to Election Petitions, shall apply to Seanad elections and for that purpose, in the said part of that Act every reference to the “Dáil” shall 40 be construed and have effect as a reference to the “Seanad”, and a reference to a “Dáil elector in the constituency” shall refer to “a Seanad elector in any Dáil constituency”.

Application of Part XXI, regarding election petitions, of the Electoral Act 1992 to Seanad elections.

40.—Part XXII of the Electoral Act 1992, insofar as it refers to offences, shall apply to Seanad elections and for that purpose, in the 45 said part of that Act every reference to the “Dáil” shall be construed and have effect as a reference to the “Seanad”.

Application of Part XXI, regarding electoral offences, of the Electoral Act 1992 to Seanad elections.

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Applications of sections of the Electoral Act 1992, regarding bribery of officials and other electoral offenses.

41.—(1) Sections 57, 134, 135, 136, 138, 139, 140, 144, 145, 149, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 160 and 163 of the Electoral Act 1992 shall apply to Seanad elections and for that purpose, in the said sections of that Act— (a) every reference to “Dáil election” and “election” shall be construed and have effect as a reference to an election in a Seanad election;

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(b) every reference to the “register of Dáil electors” shall be construed and have effect as a reference to the register of electors in respect of a Seanad election; 10 (c) every reference to “Dáil elector” and “elector” shall be construed and have effect as a reference to an elector in a Seanad election; (d) every reference to “constituency” shall be construed and have effect as a reference to a Seanad constituency; 15 (e) the reference in sections 139 and 151 to a period of time shall be construed and have effect as a reference to the period commencing on the date of the order appointing dates and times at a Seanad election and ending at the close of the poll at such election. 20 (2) In addition and without prejudice to the provisions of the foregoing subsection of this section, every statutory provision for the time being in force relating to bribery, personation or other offences at elections of members of Dáil Éireann shall apply to elections in university constituencies as if these elections were elections of 25 members of Dáil Éireann.

Where a vacancy arises in Seanad Éireann.

42.—(1) Where a seat becomes vacant, whether through disqualification, through death, through resignation, or by whatever other means, that seat shall transfer to the person in that Seanad constituency who gained the highest total number of votes, as per section 23, 30 but was not elected. (2) Where that person, who gained the next highest total number of votes, has through death, or disqualification, or for whatever other reason is unable, or unwilling to become a member of Seanad Éireann, they are disqualified from that Seanad, and the person with 35 the next highest total number of votes, may become a member, should they be able and willing. (3) Where no person can or will become a member of Seanad Éireann, or where all candidates in a given constituency have been disqualified, then that seat shall remain vacant until the next 40 Seanad election.

Amendment of the Electoral Act 1992, to incorporate this Act.

43.—(1) The Electoral Act of 1992 is amended in section 164 by the deletion of subsection (3), and its replacement with the following: “(3) In this section— (a) ‘referenda’ has the same meaning as in the Refer- 45 endum Act 1942, (b) ‘the relevant Acts’ means— 26

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(i) in the case of the registration of presidential electors, Dáil electors, European electors and local government electors, this Act, and in the case of the registration of Seanad electors, the Seanad Electoral Reform Act 2013, (ii) in the case of the conduct of elections or a referendum, as the context may require, this Act, the Presidential Elections Acts, 1937 to 1992, the Seanad Electoral Reform Act 2013, the European Assembly Elections Acts 1977 to 1992, the Local Elections Acts 1963 to 1992, and the Referendum Acts 1942 to 1992.”.

(2) The Electoral Act of 1992 is amended in section 2(1) by the insertion of the following definitions after the definition of “Seanad 15 Éireann”: “ ‘Seanad candidate’ shall refer to any person who declares their candidacy for election in any Seanad constituency;

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‘Seanad constituency’ means any constituency for election to the Seanad whether that be a university constituency, as described by section 5 of the the Seanad Electoral Reform Act 2013, or a panel constituency, as described by section 6 of the Seanad Electoral Reform Act 2013; ‘Seanad election’ means an election of a member or members to serve in the Seanad;

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‘Seanad elector’ means a person entitled to vote at a Seanad election, as defined by the Seanad Electoral Reform Act 2013.”. 44.—The Act of 1997 is amended in section 2 by the deletion of the definition of “Seanad election” and by inserting the following definitions:

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Amendment of the Electoral Act 1997, to incorporate this Act.

“ ‘Seanad’ means Seanad Éireann; ‘Seanad candidate’ shall refer to any person who declares their candidacy for election in any Seanad constituency;

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‘Seanad constituency’ means any constituency for election to the Seanad whether that be a university constituency, as described by section 5 of the Seanad Electoral Reform Act 2013, or a panel constituency, as described by section 6 of the Seanad Electoral Reform Act 2013; ‘Seanad election’ means an election of a member or members to serve in the Seanad;

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‘Seanad elector’ means a person entitled to vote at a Seanad election, as defined by the Seanad Electoral Reform Act 2013.”. 45.—Section 48(1) of the Act of 2001 is deleted and the text replaced with the following:

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“(1) Subject to subsection (3), the Minister may by order make such adaptations of, or modifications to, the Presidential Elections Act 1993, the European Parliament Elections Act 1997, the Local Elections Regulations 1995, the Referendum Act 1994, the Seanad Electoral Reform Act 2013, as will enable 27

Amendment of the Local Government Act 2001, to incorporate this Act.

voting and counting of votes at the relevant election or referendum under the said enactment or enactments to take place using equipment approved for use under this Part.”.

Expenses payments to offset cost of Seanad Elections.

46.—(1) Wherein, as a result of the changes in this Act, the cost of a Seanad election, exceeds that which was typical for a Seanad election before the enactment of this Act, the balance may be deducted from payments that the members of the Seanad receive under section 10 of the Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act 1938, as amended, subject to subsection (2).

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(2) The Minister of Finance may reduce payments to Senators, 10 and their parties, in order to defray the increased costs of extending the franchise to all people living in Ireland, and all people who bear an Irish passport in the following way— (a) where there is a reduction, it must be of a percentage of monies received by members of the Seanad, or their 15 party, where all members, or their party have their payments reduced by the same percentage, (b) not more than 60 per cent, and not less than 30 per cent, of the cost of a Seanad election may be defrayed in this fashion in a single year, 20 (c) where there is a balance outstanding for a Seanad election, the cost of this credit is to be added to the balance, the interest rate appropriate shall be determined by the governor of the Central Bank, (d) where there is a balance outstanding when the Seanad is 25 dissolved, that balance shall be added onto the cost of the subsequent Seanad Election. (3) The Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act 1938, is amended by the insertion of a new subsection, into section 10 of that Act (as amended by section 1 of the Oireachtas (Ministerial and 30 Parliamentary Offices) (Amendment) Act 2001), with the following text: “(15) Payments received by members of the Seanad under subsection (1) and subsection (3), may be reduced by a percentage that the Minister for Finance deems fit, in accordance with 35 section 47 of the Seanad Electoral Reform Act 2013, in order to defray costs associated with Seanad elections.”. Amendment of the Electoral Act 1997, to permit a reduction in payments.

47.—The Act of 1997 is amended to include, after section 32, the following text:

Procedures for a special Seanad election.

48.—Wherein, on foot of a petition of the High Court, any Seanad election has been declared invalid, the Clerk of the Seanad shall 45 write to the Minister, informing the Minister of this, whereupon—

“32A.—The aggregate of election expenses which may be 40 incurred by or on behalf of a candidate, in connection with their candidature at a Seanad election, shall not exceed a value that may be determined by regulation by the Minister.”.

(a) the Minister shall set a polling date for a special Seanad election not less than 21 days, and not more than 40 days, 28

after the Minister receives of the letter from the Clerk of the Seanad, subject to paragraph (b), whereupon the Seanad is dissolved, 5

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(b) where an appeal to the Supreme Court has been lodged with respect to the ruling made by the High Court regarding the validity of a Seanad election, the Minister may postpone setting a date for a special Seanad election until after the Supreme Court makes its ruling, whereupon the Seanad is dissolved and the date set for the special Seanad election may not be not less than 21 days, and not more than 40 days, after the Supreme Court makes its ruling, if necessary, (c) a poll for a special Seanad election shall take place entirely through a postal ballot.

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49.—Where a member of the Seanad is nominated for election in a Dáil bye-election, the member is disqualified, as a member of the Seanad, only if they are elected as a member of Dáil Éireann. 50.—(1) This Act may be cited as the Seanad Electoral Act 2013.

(2) The Electoral Acts 1992 to 2012 and this Act shall be read 20 together as one and this Act shall be included in the collective citation “Electoral Act 1992”. (3) The Local Elections Acts 1974 to 2009 and this Act (in so far as it relates to local elections) may be cited together as the Local Elections Acts 1974 to 2012 and shall be read together as one. 25

(4) The Seanad Electoral (University Members) Acts 1937 to 1973 and the Electoral Act 1992, insofar as it relates to Seanad University Members elections shall cited as “Seanad Electoral (University Members) Acts 1937 to 2012”, and shall be read together as one.

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(5) The Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Acts 1947 to 1972 and the Electoral Act 1992, insofar as it relates to Seanad Panel Members elections shall cited as “Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Acts 1947 to 2012”, and shall be read together as one.

(6) This Act shall come into operation on such day or days as the 35 Minister may appoint by order or orders either generally or with reference to any particular purpose or provision, and different days may be so appointed for different purposes or provisions.

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The vacation of a Seanad seat where the member is elected to the Dáil.

Short title, collective citation, construction and commencement.

SCHEDULE 1 (Front of Paper) Marcáil ord do rogha sna spásanna seo thíos.

[Space for photographs of candidates, if provided]

Mark order of preference in spaces below.

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DOYLE (MARY DOYLE, of 10 High Street, Knockmore, Nurse.) LYNCH (JANE ELLEN LYNCH, of 12 Main Street, Ardstown, Shopkeeper.)

10

MURPHY (PATRICK MURPHY, of 12 Main Street, Ballyduff, Carpenter.) Ó BRIAIN (SÉAMAS Ó BRIAIN, as 10 An tSráid Ard, Carn Mór, Oide Scoile.) O’BRIEN (EAMON O’BRIEN, of 22 Wellclose Place, Knockbeg, Barrister.)

15

O’BRIEN (ORLA O’BRIEN, of 103 Eaton Brae, Cahermore, Solicitor.) O’CONNOR (CAROLINE O’CONNOR, of 7 Green Street, Carnmore, Engineer.)

20

THOMPSON (WILLIAM H. THOMPSON, of Dereen, Ballyglass, Farmer.) TREORACHA

INSTRUCTIONS

I. Scríobh an figiúr 1 le hais ainm an chéad iarrthóra is rogha leat, an figiúr 2 le hais do dhara rogha, agus mar sin de

I. Write 1 beside the name of the candidate of your first choice, 2 beside your second choice, and so on.

II. Fill an páipéar ionas nach bhfeicfear do vóta. Taispeáin cúl an pháipéir don oifigeach ceannais, agus cuir sa bhosca ballóide é.

II. Fold the paper to conceal your vote. Show the back of the paper to the presiding officer and put it in the ballot box.

25

30

(Back of Paper) No. .............................................

35

Election for Constituency of ............................

30

SCHEDULE 2 Institutions of Higher Education to be included in the University Constituency pertaining to them

5

10

15

(i)

Dublin City University,

(ii)

University of Limerick,

(iii)

Athlone Institute of Technology,

(iv)

Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown,

(v)

Institute of Technology, Carlow,

(vi)

Institute of Technology, Cork,

(vii)

Dublin Institute of Technology,

(viii)

Dundalk Institute of Technology,

(ix)

Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology,

(x)

Institute of Technology, Sligo,

(xi)

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology,

(xii)

Letterkenny Institute of Technology,

(xiii)

Limerick Institute of Technology,

(xiv)

Institute of Technology, Tallaght,

(xv)

Institute of Technology, Tralee,

(xvi)

Waterford Institute of Technology.

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Click here for Bill

———————— AN BILLE UM ATHCHÓIRIÚ THOGHCHÁIN AN tSEANAID, 2013 SEANAD ELECTORAL REFORM BILL 2013 ———————— EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM ————————

Purpose of the Bill The purpose of this bill is to rescind the Seanad Electoral Acts as they stand. This Bill will give all people legally resident in Ireland the right to vote for any of the panel constituency, or if they are a graduate of an Irish institution of higher education, they are permitted to vote in a constituency appropriate to their institute of education. Within the University constituencies; this bill will open up a third university constituency for those Irish institutions of Higher Education, which are currently outside the voting system. The seats university seats, as defined in the constitution, shall go two each to the University of Dublin, to the National University of Ireland, and two to the others. There will be five panels which will be open for anyone, on foot of a petition, to declare their candidacy in. This Bill will also open up the postal voters list for to the inclusion of Irish citizens, who hold a valid passport, if they go about the process of registering and voting in their local embassy or consulate. Provisions of the Bill The Bill is divided into 50 sections, the effect of which are now summarised. Section 1 sets out the short title of the Bill and provides for the collective citation of the Bill. Section 1 also provides for the commencement of this bill at the Minister’s discretion. Section 2 sets out the definitions which are used throughout the act. Section 3 allows the Minister to put in place what regulations may be necessary on foot of this bill. Section 4 provides for expenses which may arise out of this act, and their defrayal over the medium term through a reduction in payments made to political parties, and independent senators. 1

Section 5 provides for the acts and regulations which govern the election of members of the Seanad Éireann to be rescinded. It also provides for the dissolution of the Seanad, in tandem with the Dáil, similarly the polling for the Seanad Election will be carried out simultaneously with the Dáil, and no person who is nominated to run in a Dáil election may also be a candidate in a Seanad election. Section 6 redefines the University constituencies, and provides for the inclusion of DCU, UL, and the Institutes of Technology, and provides for there being three university constituencies of two seats each. Section 7 redefines the Panel constituencies, allows each panel to be elected to one constituency each, where the size of the constituencies vary from eight to nine seats. Section 8 provides for the declaration of candidates to any of the eight constituencies. The university seats are open to any graduate of an institute of higher learning to run in the constituency attached to their institution. Any person who has a petition of 1,000 people who attest to their suitability as a candidate for a given panel constituency may run in a panel constituency. Section 9 provides for the inclusion as Seanad Electors, all those people who may vote in a local election, and also provides for the inclusion in the postal voters list, all those Irish citizens, who choose to register themselves with their local embassy or consulate. Section 10 provides for the procedures which surround the registration of people on the postal voters list, whether they be here or abroad. Section 11 provides for the procedures which surround applying to be included on the postal voters list. Section 12 sets out the requirements an elector must meet, regarding identification, the Seanad constituency they want to vote in, documents which support their inclusion on the postal voters lists etc. Section 13 provides for registration authorities erecting public notices regarding the last date for inclusion in the postal voters list. Section 14 requires that a registration authority must notify, with a week of the decision having been made, the decision that the registration authority has made regarding their inclusion/exclusion from the postal voters list. Section 15 outlines the procedures that a person, who is on the postal voters list, and lives in this state, must follow if they are to vote validly. Section 16 outlines the procedures that a person, who is an Irish citizen, and lives outside of this state, must follow if they are to be validly included in the postal voters list. Section 17 provides for the returning officer posting votes to postal list voters. Section 18 outlines the procedures that a person, who is on the postal voters list, and lives outside of this state, must follow if they are to vote validly. 2

Section 19 makes provision for all ballot papers, whether they are for postal voters, or not, being similar. Section 20 makes the Clerk of the Seanad the returning officer for all Seanad Constituencies, and allows the returning officer to appoint assistant returning officers to aid them in their duties. This section also providers for the minister being able to appoint another person, as acting returning officer, where the clerk of the Seanad, is unable to fulfil their role as returning officer. Section 21 Outlines that it is the duty of the returning officer to do such things as are necessary to provide for the running of a Seanad Election. Section 22 incorporates the provisions from section 32 of the Electoral Act 1992, as amended, to provide for the payment of expenses of the returning officer by the minister. Section 23 requires the returning officer to report to the Minister the list of candidates, whom was elected, the total number of votes that each candidate received, and reports on how many ballots were cast, votes received, etc. Section 24 applies Part VII of the Electoral Act 1992, as amended, which relates to the method of election, to Seanad Elections. Section 25 applies Part XI of the Electoral Act 1992, as amended, which relates to the agents of candidates, to Seanad Elections. Section 26 applies Part XIII of the Electoral Act 1992, as amended, which relates to the postal votes, to Seanad Elections. Section 27 describes the form of the ballot paper. Section 28 provides for the official mark of an election. Section 29 provides for the polling for a Seanad Election to occur during the same hours as the polling for a Dáil Election. Section 30 provides for those sections of the Electoral of 1992 that relation to electoral offences that apply equally to Seanad Elections. Section 31 makes provision for how a person may vote, if they choose to vote in a Seanad constituency on polling day, it allows them to declare for any Seanad constituency they like, if they wish to vote in a university constituency, and they do not have the ‘‘franchise’’ required by the 1979 amendment to the constitution, they are entitled to declare for any of the 5 panel constituencies. As the constitution requires that polling for Seanad elections is carried out by postal vote, they are offered the alternatives, to wither postal vote it themselves, with a receipt from the polling place, or put their ballot in a polling box which will itself be ‘‘posted’’, by whatever means, to the place where they returning officer has determined that the count will take place. Section 32 provides for the returning officer to decide where the counting of votes can occur, and applies Part XIX of the Electoral Act 1992, as amended, which relates to the counting of votes, to Seanad Elections. In subsection (b) the bill also makes provision for the disqualification of a candidate who is dead, disqualified, or otherwise has an invalid candidacy, and the transfer of votes to them to the person who has the next highest preference. 3

Section 33 provides for the notification of the candidates, by the returning officer, of the place where the count will occur. Section 34 provides for the opening of the ballot boxes, on the appointed day, the mixing of the ballots etc. Section 35 provides for the times of the day during which the counting of votes may occur. Section 36 provides for the returning officer to be the person who may designate whether a ballot is valid, or not. Section 37 precludes candidates from handling ballot papers, during the counting of votes. Section 38 applies Part XIX of the Electoral Act 1992, as amended, which relates to the counting of votes, to Seanad Elections. Section 39 applies Part XX of the Electoral Act 1992, as amended, which relates to the retention, inspection and disposal of documents, to Seanad elections. Section 40 applies Part XXI of the Electoral Act 1992, as amended, which relates to the Electoral Petitions, to Seanad Elections. Section 41 applies Part XXI of the Electoral Act 1992, as amended, which relates to the electoral offences, to Seanad Elections. Section 42 Sections of the Electoral Act 1992, as amended, which relate to offences including bribery of electoral officials etc. are incorporated into this bill. Section 43 outlines where if a seat becomes vacant, in the Seanad by death, disqualification, or by whatever other means, it shall transfer to that person who was next highest in that Seanad constituency, but did not get elected. Section 44 incorporates this act into the Electoral Act of 1992, as amended, and removes references to those acts which have been rescinded in this bill. Section 45 amends the definition of a Seanad Election in the 1997 Electoral act, and incorporates this act so that those seeking election under this act would fall within the remit of that bill, which limits donations to candidates, political parties etc. Section 46 allows for ballot boxes which are used in European, and local elections, to be used in Seanad elections. Section 47 provides the mechanism by which the costs of a Seanad election might be deducted subsequently from electoral act expenses that the members of the Seanad, or their parties, might have received, in a manner which is outlined in Note 1 Section 48, this empowers the minister to make the deductions outlined in Section 47. Section 49 provides for what would happen in the event of a Seanad Election being declared invalid, on foot of a High Court petition. Namely the Seanad if constituted, would be dissolved, and a special Seanad Election would be called, which would be carried out entirely by postal ballot, an would also allow any person who is resident in this State to apply for application on the voters list. 4

Section 50 provides for a person who is a member of the Seanad and is nominated to run in a Dáil bye-election to only be excluded from the Seanad if the win in the Dáil election. Senator John Crown, March, 2013.

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NOTE It is important that this bill not be a further drain on the pockets of the people of Ireland. Consequently there is a mechanism built into this bill which will allow the Minister for Finance to defray the costs of a Seanad Election by reducing the expenses received by Independent Senators, and the political parties that other senators are members of. Political parties, which have members that are also members of the Seanad receive payments from the central fund, through the Minister of Finance. Using 2011 numbers, for each of the first five members of the Seanad, that a party has, their party receives €46,766, for each subsequent member the party receives €23,383. In a given year: Fine Gael would receive The Labour Party would receive Fianna Fáil would receive Sinn Fein would receive

€561,192 €397,511 €444,277 €140,298

And each independent senator

€23,383.

Or approximately €1.8 million per year, This bill allows the minister to reduce these payments so as to defray at least a 30% of the outstanding cost of the Seanad election, and as much as 60%. It has been stated repeatedly that if the Seanad is abolished by referendum, which seems likely occur this coming October, then the moneys currently spent on the Seanad will be transferred with the houses of the Oireachtas, and will be used with the framework of the committees, and so there will be no net saving to the exchequer arising from this. Therefore to put the monies that will be spent to other uses (including expanding the franchise to all the people of Ireland) will have no net effect on the exchequer. Typically, a referendum will cost €19 million. Of that approximately 5 million is spent on the referendum commission, seven to eight million is spent on post, so that actual cost of the polling is relatively small. This bill will see Seanad elections occur simultaneously with Dáil elections, so there will be no extra costs such as the production and postage of polling cards. Seanad Electors, under this act will not receive Letters from candidates sponsored by the state. The marginal costs of this system will be the costs of printing ballots, the cost of transporting the ballot boxes to a central count area, and the costs of the count, which if they bear a resemblance to a referendum, will cannot cost more than six or seven million, and given the economies of running elections in tandem, likely much less. And the minister has a pool of nine million (payments to parties of the members of Seanad, and independent members, over five years) to deduct this money from the on going payments, as per Table 1. 6

Table 1 (Assuming 2011 rates) and a cost of election at €6,000,000

Year Year Year Year Year

1 2 3 4 5

Balance

Deduction by Minister

Parties receive

€6,000,000.00 €4,384,932.30 €3,288,699.23 €2,532,298.40 €1,608,913.32

€1,823,874.00 €1,252,837.80 €876,986.46 €1,000,000.00 €1,608,913.32

€0.00 €571,036.20 €946,887.54 €823,874.00 €214,960.68

€6,562,611.58

€2,556,758.42

Totals

Wt. 61256. 622. 3/13. Clondalkin. (35571). Gr. 30-15.

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