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Your Vote is Your Voice

2 May 2024, An Coimisiún Toghcháin, Ireland’s independent electoral commission and the National Election and Democracy Study (NEDS) Management Board has today published research data from Ireland’s first pilot National Election and Democracy Study.

The Electoral Reform Act 2022 provides An Coimisiún Toghcháin with a significant research mandate to prepare research programmes and conduct research on electoral policy and procedure including relating to the discharge of its functions. As a first step An Coimisiún published a draft Research Programme for public consultation in November 2023 which included a commitment to develop a long-term National Election and Democracy Study (NEDS) for Ireland.

Ireland has historically lagged behind other countries in relation to the availability of reliable and comprehensive data about its elections and political behaviour. Such studies have been in place in many other countries for well over 50 years. An Coimisiún aims to rectify this deficit and build a democratic databank to measure over time the views, attitudes and experiences of the Irish public of electoral events and democracy and the factors that influence these.

The data gathered through the NEDS will be anonymised and open source to provide stakeholders, the public, the media and the political system with high quality information about the state of our democracy and public attitudes associated with electoral events. The data will also inform the separate post electoral event reviews which An Coimisiún is required to publish after each electoral event.

There are two distinct elements of the NEDS- the first focusses on An Coimisiún Toghcháin and on gathering data to inform it in the performance of its functions. These include questions around awareness of An Coimisiún and its activities with a particular focus on public education, increasing political participation, political knowledge, An Coimisiún’s referendum information function and sources of information used by the public, all to benchmark its performance and guide future initiatives.

Some key findings regarding the questions related to An Coimisiún and its functions in the March surveys are as follows:

  • An Coimisiún Toghcháin was the most trusted source of information regarding the referendums (online and phone respondents) although the general levels of trust are quite low and indicate further work must be done in building trust.
  • Just under half of respondents to the online and phone surveys (46%) were aware of An Coimisiún (the Electoral Commission) and its role, while 3 in 4 recognised the name. Awareness and understanding of the role of An Coimisiún was higher amongst those surveyed at polling stations (60%).
  • 67% of those surveyed at polling stations reported using An Coimisiún as a source of information.
  • Just over half of online and phone respondents read An Coimisiún’s referendum information booklet with those who read the booklet reporting a higher level of knowledge of the referendum topics. Of those surveyed at polling stations 62% received and read the booklet.
  • 73% of online poll respondents said they were interested in politics.
  • However there is also some work to be done by An Coimisiún Toghcháin on public and voter education. Less than half of respondents (43%) to the online poll knew that Constitutional amendments cannot be made by a majority vote in the Dáil. Voters at polling stations demonstrated higher levels of knowledge with 64% answering this question correctly.
  • 98% of those surveyed at polling stations were positive about their voting experience.

The second part of the NEDS includes the questions which are a key focus for academics in international Election Studies around the world regarding whether and how people use their vote, motivations around voting choices, government satisfaction, political attitudes and the factors that influence these. Questions in this part of the study were selected by the academic members of the NEDS Management Board and are being made publicly available to allow research and analysis by academics and other stakeholders such as the media, political parties, politicians and the public more broadly.  Collecting data in these areas also allows Ireland to be part of comparative research on political and electoral systems and democracy.


For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, Communications and Public Engagement Manager, 

An Coimisiún Toghcháin, The Electoral Commission,

086 0749344 

Editor’s Note:

1 The data is published and can be accessed at Given the pilot stage of the project this site is quite rudimentary and will be enhanced and upgraded in the coming months with a view to making it more accessible and user-friendly.

2 The data being published today was gathered through three separate surveys:

  • online (1041 respondents) and telephone surveys (1001 respondents) conducted in the weeks before the referendums by RED C
  • a voters’ survey of 3,587 voters conducted at 185 polling stations on 8th March by Ipsos B&A

3 Further details on the methodology are contained in the slide decks on The raw data and codebooks are currently being made ready for publication and once this process is completed will be published on

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:

  • 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.
  • responsibility for the registration of political parties.
  • making reports for the Minister in relation to local electoral boundaries. 

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

  • preparing research programmes and conducting research on electoral policy and procedure, and providing advice, as required, to the Minister and Government.
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • the preparation of ex-post reports on the administration of electoral events.

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