Indications from polling stations last night suggested that a record number of people cast their vote in yesterday’s referenda on marriage equality and lowering the age of eligibility to run for the presidency.
With more than 3.2m people registered to vote in yesterday’s referenda, a turnout of more than 60% would trump the 1.8m votes cast in the 2004 citizenship referendum, which was held on the same day as the local and European elections.
As the polls closed last night, returning officers in Dublin North East were reporting a turnout of 67%, closely followed by North Central with 66%.
The lowest constituency turnout in the capital was Dublin Central which reported that 39% of voters had cast a ballot within the last hour of polling.
Voting in Cork’s South and North Central city constituencies was expected to exceed 50% and 40%, respectively, by the close of polls, while the turnouts in Limerick and Waterford were estimated at over 60% within an hour of the 10pm voting deadline.
A turnout of around 55% was being predicted in Kerry following a steady voting pattern throughout the day.
Returning officer Padraig Burke said there was a strong turnout by voters of all ages.
However, polling station clerks noted that more young people were voting than usual, with many returning home from college, or from overseas, to vote.
The topic ‘#hometovote’ began trending early in the day on Twitter as people shared the story of their journeys.
Just over 50% of people had voted in Killarney town by 8pm, while the turnout was marginally lower in rural areas.
The count for the Kerry South constituency will be in Killarney Sports Centre, while the KYDS Centre, Denny St, Tralee, will be the counting centre for the Kerry North/West Limerick constituency.
Elsewhere, the turnout in Clare was expected to break the 50% mark, while parts of Tipperary recorded turnouts of over 60%.
Reports from Galway put the city and county turnout at 35% and 20%, respectively, in the early evening.
Meanwhile, early arrivals to a polling station in Offaly were left fuming when they could not access the building because a gate was padlocked.
Staff manning the polling station at Boher National School in Ballycumber opened the premises on time but did not have keys to the school gate and had to scale a wall to gain entrance.
A number of older voters who came at 7am because they had an early appointment some 130km away had to leave without being able to cast their vote.
The gate was later opened.
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