top of page

How to cast your vote in Irish Elections - An understanding of PR-STV Voting System

In Ireland, understanding the PR-STV (Proportional Representation - Single Transferable Vote) voting system is key to effective participation in democracy. Let's dive into how this exciting process works and how you can participate in shaping the future of your community!

1. Understanding PR-STV Voting System:

PR-STV may sound complicated, but it's actually quite simple! Here's how it works:

  • Imagine you're picking your favourite ice cream flavours. You list them in order, from most favourite to least favourite.

  • In voting, you do the same with candidates! You mark a "1" next to your favourite candidate (first preference), a "2" for your second preference, and so on.

  • Your vote stays with your top choice until they either win or are out of the race.

  • If your top choice doesn't need your vote, it transfers to your next favourite candidate.

  • This system lets you support independent candidates or individuals from different parties. Cool, right?

Understanding Proportional Representation - Single Transferable Vote (PR-STV) Voting System Ireland Democratic Process

2. The Voting Process Made Simple:

Let's break down how you'll cast your vote:

  1. Get your ballot paper and a pen/pencil (available at the voting booth).

  2. Find your favourite candidate and put a "1" beside their name.

  3. You can stop after indicating your first choice candidate or you can continue to give a preferential vote to as many candidates on the ballot paper as you wish, mark them with "2," "3," and so on. Understanding this lets you vote with confidence, knowing you're only supporting the candidates you truly believe in:

    1. You can stop marking numbers when you've picked all the candidates you want to support. This way, your vote won't transfer to someone you don't want.

    2. So, feel free to leave out candidates you don't like. Your vote, your choice!

  4. Remember, your vote follows your choices until the end!

  5. Done! You've just cast your vote like a pro!

3. Explaining the Counting Process:

Now, let's talk about how all the votes are counted. It's like a big math puzzle!

  • First, all the ballot boxes are opened, and the votes are counted to make sure everything is fair.

  • Then, they count how many "1" votes each candidate got. If a candidate receives enough "1" votes, they win!

  • If a candidate gets more "1" votes than they need, the extra votes are shared with other candidates, so nobody misses out.

  • If nobody wins outright, they start looking at everyone's "2" votes and then "3s" and keep going until all the seats are filled.

Understanding how votes are counted helps us trust that the election is fair and everyone's voice is heard!


Voting is a super important way to have your say in what happens in your neighbourhood and country. With PR-STV, you get to pick your favourites and see how your choices make a difference. Local Elections are taking place on June 7th, so please get registered before 20th May 2024, grab your ballot paper and vote like a champ! Your voice matters!

Read my blog on how to register here.



bottom of page