People of all ages have been urged to vote in today’s referenda or someone else will get to make their decision for them at the ballot box.
Both the yes and no campaigns made their final appeals yesterday ahead of polling stations opening today for the marriage and presidential age referenda.
It is expected that indications of the outcomes in both could be known early tomorrow morning after the boxes are opened and the counting of votes begins.
Referendum Commission chairman Mr Justice Kevin Cross yesterday said: “Research has shown that many people who intend to vote don’t actually do so because they have forgotten. So pick a time when it’s suitable for you, in advance, and stick to that time. Turn up and vote because if you don’t vote, somebody else will make the decision for you.”
Polling stations will open from 7am to 10pm today. Voters were advised yesterday not to wear badges inside polling stations, not to take ‘selfies’ with their phones and only to mark X on ballot papers in the correct spot.
Tánaiste Joan Burton said that the outcome of the same-sex marriage referendum would affect the gay and lesbian community. But the vote was “another road on the march to inclusion” from an Ireland that was more “caring and generous” than 50 years ago.
The Labour leader said — while respecting people who vote no — she was “very confident” the referendum would pass.
She also said she expected the referendum on allowing people to run for the presidency at the age of 21 to be beaten, even though she would be voting yes.
GAA All-Ireland Senior Championship winning manager Mickey Harte yesterday said that a lot of his friends were voting no and voters should be allowed make up their own minds.
“A lot of my friends are voting no in the marriage referendum. They believe in gay people and their rights. They believe in the importance of marriage between men and women. They believe in children having their fathers and mothers around. They believe Irish people should decide this issue for themselves without being lectured by their media or bought off by international foundations. I believe they are right.”
Head of Amnesty Ireland and advocate for the yes side Colm O’Gorman said Ireland had been “fundamentally changed” by the campaign. He said that more people would be getting married if the vote passed.
The National Youth Council of Ireland called on young people to make sure they use their vote in the referendums.
James Doorley, NYCI deputy director, said: “Up to 400,000 young people aged 18-25 have the right to vote. The high numbers registered recently are an indication of the level of interest in this referendum.
No campaigners Mothers and Fathers Matter said they were still confident the marriage vote would be defeated and that “online engagement will have been an important reason why.”
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