In spite of all that has gone on, under the glare of the world’s media, in the presidential election in America, Kerry county councillor, Jackie Healy Rae thinks that there are aspects of the US electoral system which Ireland should examine.
“While it is both laughable and shamefully undemocratic the manner in which President Donald Trump is trying to have legitimately cast votes not counted, I do believe that there are aspects of the way Americans vote that we should look to adopting here in Ireland,” said Cllr Healy Rae.
“Every five years or sometimes less, we have elections in Ireland held generally on a Friday or as we seen recently a Saturday.
No matter what time of year it’s held, thousands of people find themselves in a position where they simply cannot make it to their registered polling station on the given day.
“We in Ireland should look at facilitating these people to exercise their right to vote rather than simply saying ‘tough luck’ especially for those who really want their vote to count.
Giving People the Chance
“Having been involved in elections from a very young age, it happens every time, a family may have their holidays abroad booked, students away at college or work commitments in one part of the country simply means it would not be viable for them to return home to vote.
Therefore, I believe these people/families should be given the chance to vote through a similar early voting system like in the U.S.
“We could simply expand the current postal vote system we have in Ireland which is generally only afforded to our more elderly population or people who are too ill to make it to vote.
Vote in Advance of Polling Day
“For example, in a local election, an early voting system could simply be providing proof you will not be in the country on polling day and presenting early, for example at Kerry County Council headquarters in Tralee to cast your vote and have it counted on polling day.
“Or, again simply enabling that person to cast a postal vote in advance of polling day provided they can prove they will not be able to attend their polling booth on the given day.
Valuing the Right to Vote
“I value so much the right we have been given to vote, and while I might be an outlier given my keen interest in politics from a young age, on the day I turned 18, filling up a form to register to vote was one of the first things I did.
“No matter what people’s opinions are on a candidate or political party or none, I always encourage people to ‘go out and vote.’
The Donal’s Way of Vote Counting
“With local and European elections held only last year and a general election early this year, the Government should not waste any time in examining these proposals.
“They could also look at reforming our archaic register of electors ensuring that is it made easier for people to register to vote and we should be looking to this as a matter of urgency ahead of any future elections.
“We can learn in a positive way from the U.S. way of casting votes, but, we should steer clear on the Donald’s attitude of counting them,” was Cllr. Jackie’s humorous conclusion.
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