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Your Vote is Your Voice

12 June 2024 –  An Coimisiún Toghcháin, Ireland’s independent electoral commission has welcomed a significant 29% reduction in the level of spoilt votes seen in the local and European elections.

Provisional figures collected by the Commission show that in the 7 June local and European elections there were 77,464 invalid or spoilt votes. The same elections in 2019 saw 108,488 votes declared invalid. This is a reduction of 31,024 despite a larger number of people voting.

An Coimisiún Toghcháin ran a “Don’t Spoil Your Day” Voter Education Drive in the last two weeks leading into polling day. This campaign saw the Commission promoting its “How to Vote” video online and with community groups, and in more than 25 national and regional broadcast interviews focused on the voting process. In advance of the elections 40,000 people visited the “How to Vote” page on the Electoral Commission’s website which featured a Commission video on how to correctly complete a ballot.

Local Elections

  • The 2019 local elections saw a total of 1.91% spoilt votes (as a percentage of votes cast) or 34,618 invalid votes.
  • The 2024 local elections (provisional results) saw 1.20% spoilt votes out of a turnout of 1,864,942 or 22,468 invalid votes. This is a reduction of 12,150 from 2019.
  • This reduction is the equivalent of roughly 8 quotas to be elected to a local authority.
  • Even with an increase of over 92,000 voters on 2019, every local authority saw a reduction in both the numbers of spoilt votes, and as a percentage of overall turnout.
  • Dublin City saw a reduction of invalid ballots from 3.07% in 2019 to 1.83% while Wicklow fell from 2.12% to 1.01%, Cork City from 2.35% to 1.35% and Westmeath from 1.90% to 1.04%.

European Elections

  • The 2019 European elections saw a total of 4.22% spoilt votes (as a percentage of votes cast) or 73,870 invalid votes.
  • The 2024 European elections (provisional results) saw a total of 54,996 invalid votes or 3.06% of total votes cast– a reduction of 18,874 from 2019 or the equivalent of the population of Clonmel, despite there being almost 50,000 more votes cast.

Art O’Leary, Chief Executive of An Coimisiún Toghcháin, stated:

“Our sincere thanks to everyone who voted on Friday. On the back of our voter education campaign and the efforts of community groups, civic society, Returning Officers, polling staff and the media we have seen a significantly reduced number of unintentionally spoilt ballots, which comes despite voters having to navigate some very long ballot papers.”

Tim Carey, Head of Electoral Operations for the Commission stated:

”Our education drive was the result of feedback from Returning Officers and politicians who expressed concern in advance of the Europeans and locals. It became evident that voting may be simple, but getting it wrong is easy. We are delighted that people whose votes may otherwise not have counted have had their voices heard. However, Commission staff who observed many of the counts reported that the vast majority of votes that were declared invalid on 7 June were clearly cast by people who had wanted their vote to count. So there is more work to do.’

Among its functions, An Coimisiún Toghcháin, Ireland’s independent electoral commission, is tasked with building awareness of Ireland’s elections and increasing the numbers of people voting through education and information campaigns.


For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, Communications and Public Engagement Manager, 

An Coimisiún Toghcháin, The Electoral Commission,

086 0749344 

Editor’s Note:

Spoilt vote analysis

Local Authority2019 total Invalid votes2019 % Invalid Votes2024 total Invalid Votes2024 % Invalid Votes
Cork City16162.359381.35
Cork County21271.5611840.81
Dublin City43683.0727431.83
Galway City3941.643451.40
Galway County13141.678561.06
South Dublin25353.1313501.57
 Totals34618 22468 
European Elections 2024
Total ElectorateTotal Votes CastTurnout %Spoilt VotesPercentage of votes spoilt
Midlands NW131819070070053.1620754
2024 Totals3554450180022650.6549963.06
2019 Totals3526023175187349.7738704.22

An Coimisiún Toghcháin, The Electoral Commission

An Coimisiún Toghcháin is a statutory, independent body, established on 9 February 2023 with responsibility for a broad range of electoral functions set out in the Electoral Reform Act 2022. An Coimisiún is central to Ireland’s electoral system, carrying out a range of existing electoral functions, including:

  • responsibility for the registration of political parties;
  • promoting public awareness of, and working to increase public participation in the State’s electoral and democratic processes through education and information programmes;
  • overseeing the modernised Electoral Register, making recommendations and setting standards in relation to its maintenance and updating;
  • the regulation of online paid-for political advertising, ensuring transparency in respect of online political advertisements during the period of an election or referendum campaign; (Legislation not yet commenced); and
  • responsibility for the investigation and monitoring of online disinformation, online misinformation and manipulative or inauthentic behaviour online during election campaign periods, as well as functions to prevent manipulative or inauthentic behaviours online. (Legislation not yet commenced).

An Coimisiún is also tasked with several new electoral roles, including:

  • making reports for the Minister in relation to local electoral boundaries;
  • preparing research programmes and conducting research on electoral policy and procedure, and providing advice, as required, to the Minister and Government;
  • the preparation of ex-post reports on the administration of electoral events;
  • the decision-making, oversight, secretariat and supporting services associated with explaining the subject matter of referendum proposals, the promotion of public awareness of referendums and encouragement of the electorate to vote at referendum polls; and
  • the conducting of reviews and making reports in relation to the constituencies for the election of members to the Dáil and the election of members to the European Parliament.

It is anticipated that the initial set of functions assigned to An Coimisiún will be expanded upon as it builds capacity and expertise.