Saturday vote ‘step in right direction’
Holding General Election 2020 on a Saturday isn’t going to massively improve voter turnout.
That’s the opinion of Dr Theresa Reidy, a political scientist in the Department of Government at UCC, who spoke to the Cork Independent yesterday about the need for an information campaign around the election, Fine Gael and the general lack of political violence in Ireland. She said that having this general election on a Saturday for the first time in decades should make it easier for people to vote, however she added a caveat, saying that it’s not going to transform turnout overnight.
Dr Reidy added: “Voting on a Saturday is a small step in the right direction but there also needs to be an information campaign around the election and there’s no real sign of that coming.
“It’s nobody’s role to promote information about elections in Ireland like there is when there’s a referendum. We need to alert people that the voting day has changed and that it’s being changed to make it easier for people to vote. We also need to provide information on how to actually vote.”
If Fine Gael lose the majority vote in next month’s General Election, Ms Reidy said it may come down to what is called the “governing penalty”.
She said: “A lot of people ask us if people vote on the back of health and it’s very hard to answer yes to that. People don’t wake up in the morning and say that they prefer the health policies of one party over Fine Gael because all of the political parties have the same health policy. Sláintecare is the agreed health policy but where Fine Gael differ from other parties is that they have been responsible for it and they could suffer from the governing penalty.”
It also emerged on Sunday evening that a brick had been thrown through the office of Senator Colm Burke in the heart of Blackpool village. The Fine Gael candidate also that 250 of his posters had been taken down and illegally removed.
“We generally don’t have any political violence,” continued Ms Reidy, “but there are people who are hostile towards the political system especially since the economic crash. There is a cohort who have a very anti-politics attitude. Fine Gael has been mired in controversy in that constituency and people are annoyed but it should be noted too that all of the other candidates in Cork North Central were appalled by it and it’s not a tactic of political opponents.”