|First||Previous (PART 3 Local Authority Membership)||Next (PART 5 Cathaoirleach and Leas-Chathaoirleach)|
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT, 2001
Local electoral areas.
23. —(1) Subject to subsection (7), the Minister may by order—
(a) divide a county, city or town into local electoral areas, and
(b) in respect of the members of the local authority, fix the number of such members to be elected for each local electoral area.
(2) The number of members of a local authority to which an order under this section relates to be elected at an election of members of the local authority held after the making of the order for each local electoral area specified in the order shall, without prejudice to any subsequent order, be the number fixed by the order for the local electoral area.
(3) Where, on the commencement of this provision, an order is in force dividing a county, city or town into local electoral areas or fixing the number of members for each local electoral area, the order shall continue in force in relation to the county, city or town and be deemed to be an order under this section and may be amended or revoked accordingly.
(4) In respect of any local electoral area in a county, city or town, the Minister may by order—
(a) amend, modify, or revoke any division made by an order under this section, including an order under this subsection or an order deemed by subsection (3) to be an order under this section, or
(b) alter the number of members of the local authority to be elected for a local electoral area by virtue of an order under this section, including an order under this subsection or an order deemed by subsection (3) to be an order under this section.
(5) An order under this section shall first have effect for the purpose of the election of members of the local authority held next after the order is made.
(6) Subject to subsections (1) to (5), at every election of the members of any council of a town which is not divided into local electoral areas there shall be one local electoral area, which shall (subject to regulations made under section 17 of the Local Government Act, 1994 , which are continued in force by virtue of section 30 (1)) consist of the area of such town and all such members shall be elected for such local electoral area.
(7) (a) Before deciding whether to make an order under this section the Minister shall request the Local Government Commission to prepare a report in respect of the relevant county, city or town and Part 11 applies to such a request and report.
(b) In considering making a request under paragraph (a), the Minister may have regard to the extent of population changes in local electoral areas within counties and cities as shown in the latest census report of the Central Statistics Office which—
(i) sets out the population of the State, classified by area, and
(ii) is published following a census of population.
(c) The provisions of an order made under this section shall not vary in any material respect from the recommendations of the Local Government Commission in respect of the relevant county, city or town unless the Minister is satisfied there are substantial reasons for so doing and such order shall set out the reasons for such variation.
(8) A reference to a town under this section shall, subject to part 8, be read as a reference to the area of such town as altered for local electoral purposes only by section 17 of the Local Government Act, 1994 , and regulations made under it.
Right to vote at local elections.
24. —(1) For the purposes of this section and subject to this Part and regulations made under it, every person whose name is on the register of local government electors prepared under Part II of the Electoral Act, 1992 , for the time being in force for a local electoral area (in this Act referred to as the “register of electors”) is entitled to vote at the poll at a local election in that area.
(2) A person's name shall be taken to be on the register of electors if it includes a name which, in the opinion of the returning officer or presiding officer, was intended to be the person's name.
(3) A person who has voted at a local election shall not in any legal proceeding be required to state for whom he or she has voted.
(4) A person who—
(a) is registered in the register of electors for the time being in force for a local electoral area but is not entitled to be so registered, or
(b) is not registered in the register of electors,
shall not vote at the poll at a local election in that area.
(5) Nothing in this section shall be read so as to entitle any person to vote who is not entitled to do so, or as relieving that person from any penalties to which that person may be liable to, for voting.
Prohibition of plural voting.
25. —(1) A person shall not vote or apply for a ballot paper—
(a) more than once at an election of the members of a local authority otherwise than under Article 64 of the Local Elections Regulations, 1995,
(b) more than once at an election for a directly elected Cathaoirleach of a local authority,
(c) at an election of the members of more than one local authority of the same class held at the same local elections,
(d) at a direct election of the Cathaoirleach of more than one local authority of the same class held in conjunction with the same local elections, or
(e) at both an election of the members of a city council and an election of the members of a local authority of the class specified in subsection (2)(b) held at the same local elections.
(2) For the purposes of this section, local authorities shall be deemed to consist of the following 2 classes:
(a) county councils and city councils;
(b) town councils.
(3) (a) A person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,500 or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
(b) A person who aids, abets, counsels or procures the commission of an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and is liable:
(i) on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,500, or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both, or
(ii) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding £10,000 or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both.
Year of elections to all local authorities.
26. —(1) (a) An election of members of every local authority shall be held in the year 2004 and in every fifth year thereafter.
(b) Nothing in this subsection affects Part 21 of this Act or any order made under that Part.
(2) The poll at local elections shall be held on such day in the month of May or June and shall continue for such period, not being less than 12 hours, between the hours of 7.00 a.m. and 10.30 p.m., as may be fixed by the Minister by order.
(3) An order under this section shall be published in the Iris Oifigiúil as soon as may be after it is made.
Conduct of elections.
27. —(1) (a) Local elections shall be held in accordance with regulations made by the Minister under this section.
(b) If an election is contested, the poll shall be taken according to the system of proportional representation, each local government elector having one transferable vote.
(c) In this subsection “transferable vote” has the meaning given to it by section 37 of the Electoral Act, 1992 .
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), regulations under this section may in particular include provision for all or any of the following matters in relation to local elections:
(b) deposits by candidates;
(c) deaths of candidates;
(d) duties of returning officers;
(e) staff of returning officers;
(f) taking of polls and counting of votes;
(g) use, free of charge, of schools and public rooms;
(h) arrangements for postal voting;
(i) arrangements for special voting;
(j) voting by persons in the employment of returning officers;
(k) voting by physically ill or physically disabled local government electors;
(l) polling on islands;
(m) issue of polling information cards;
(n) maintenance of secrecy of voting;
(o) removal of persons misconducting themselves in polling stations;
(p) procedure in cases of disorder or obstruction;
(q) interference with ballot boxes or ballot papers;
(r) election of the same person in more than one local electoral area, or to more than one local authority of the same class within the meaning of section 14 ;
(s) casual vacancies that occur in the circumstances specified in paragraph (r), or occuring in other specified circumstances related to local elections;
(t) the manner in which the costs of local elections are to be paid by local authorities;
(u) provisions corresponding to sections 60, 105, 134 to 154, 156 to 160 and 163 of the Electoral Act, 1992 , with such modifications as appear to the Minister to be appropriate.
(3) Where a provision of regulations under this section corresponds to a provision of the Electoral Act, 1992 , which declares a matter to be an electoral offence, the regulations may provide for a corresponding offence in relation to local elections and lay down a penalty for it which does not exceed the relevant penalty specified in section 157 of that Act.
(4) Regulations made under section 22 of the Local Government Act, 1994 , and in force at the commencement of this provision shall continue in force and have effect as if made under this section and may be amended or revoked accordingly.
(5) Where regulations under this section are proposed to be made, a draft of them shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and the regulations shall not be made until a resolution approving of the draft has been passed by each House.
(6) No local election is invalid by reason of non-compliance with any regulations under this section, or any mistake in the use of forms provided for or by any such regulations, if it appears to the court before which the matter is raised:
(a) that the election was conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the regulations under this section taken as a whole, and
(b) that the non-compliance or mistake did not materially affect the result of the election.
(7) Regulations under this section apply to a new election under Part 21.
(8) Where regulations under this section provide for the issue of polling information cards by a local authority, a decision to issue them is a reserved function.
Temporary arrangements with respect to certain polling districts and register of electors.
28. —(1) In this section the “manager” means—
(a) in relation to any part of a polling district situated in a city, the manager for the city,
(b) in relation to any part of a polling district situated in a county, the manager for the county.
(2) This section applies where after—
(a) the alteration of the boundary of a local authority under Part 8 or otherwise, or
(b) the making of an order under section 23 —
(i) dividing a county, city or town into local electoral areas, or
(ii) amending or modifying any division made by such an order,
a polling district existing immediately before the alteration or revision or amendment or modification of such division, as the case may be, is not wholly situated within the area of a local authority or of a local electoral area, as the case may be.
(3) Where subsection (2) applies, the manager of the relevant local authority shall, for each part of the polling district situated within the area of the local authority—
(a) join it or parts of it with any adjoining polling district or districts within that area, or
(b) constitute it as a polling district and appoint a polling place for it.
(4) An arrangement made under subsection (3) has effect until, and only until, the first scheme under section 28 of the Electoral Act, 1992 , in relation to the county or city in which the part concerned of the polling district is situated comes into operation after the making of the arrangement.
(5) An arrangement made under subsection (3) shall, as soon as practicable, be notified to the Minister by the manager.
(6) In respect of a part of a polling district referred to in subsection (3), the manager shall make such alterations in relation to the part of the register of electors in force as may be necessary to secure that the part of the register concerned shall be in conformity with the arrangement made under that subsection and may conveniently be used for the purposes of taking a poll.
Consequential appointments to certain other bodies.
29. —(1) The year 2004, and every year after 2004 which is a year in which local elections are held, is an election year for the purposes of the Harbours Act, 1946 .
(2) The year 2004, and every year after 2004 which is a year in which local elections are held, is an election year for the purposes of the Vocational Education Acts, 1930 to 1999.
(3) (a) The appointments made under section 10 of the School Attendance Act, 1926 , which first occur after the commencement of this subsection shall be made in the year 2004 and shall be regarded as quinquennial appointments.
(b) Nothing in paragraph (a) operates to prejudice the power of any person, conferred by or under section 10 of the School Attendance Act, 1926 , to appoint persons to fill casual vacancies among the membership of a school attendance committee.
Savers (Part 4).
30. —(1) Subject to Part 8, regulations made under subsections (1) and (2) of section 17 of the Local Government Act, 1994 , with reference to the Third Schedule to that Act altering local authority boundaries for electoral purposes only shall continue in force, notwithstanding the repeal of those provisions by this Act.
(2) Subject to Part 8, the area of any county or town (including any borough or urban district) the boundary of which was altered for electoral purposes only under section 17 of the Local Government Act, 1994 , is for such purposes the area so altered and the local government electors standing registered in respect of such area are entitled to vote at the local elections to be held in 2004 and from then on.