THE POLLING booths have closed after the people of Ireland voted in the Abortion Referendum, amid reports of a strong turnout.
Counting is due to begin tomorrow morning, with a result expected late in the afternoon.
However an Irish Times exit poll, carried out by Ipsos MRBI, suggests a huge victory for the Yes side, with 68 per cent in favour of change.
— Ipsos MRBI (@IpsosMRBI) May 25, 2018
According to the poll, 77 per cent of voters in Dublin voted Yes, with 60 per cent of rural voters also backing change.
The poll was based on interviews throughout the day with 4,000 voters as they left polling stations in 160 locations across all constituencies. The margin of error is estimated at +/- 1.5 per cent.
Figures from polling stations across Ireland suggested a bigger turnout than for the referendum on same-sex marriage in 2015 and the 2016 General Election.
RTÉ reports that turnout was believed to be as high as 70 per cent in some areas.
Average voter turnout in urban areas in Co Wicklow was headed towards 70% shortly after 8pm. One of the highest figures is in Charlesland in Greystones - at 73%. Turnout in the county is at least matching the marriage referendum so far, polling inspectors say. #Referendum2018
— Aengus Cox (@AengusCox) 25 May 2018
Very strong voter turnout in Dublin West, with a high number of younger voters turning out across all polling stations. At this point, the turnout is as high as a general election. @labour
— Joan Burton (@joanburton) 25 May 2018
More than 3.2million people are registered to vote in the referendum, with over 100,000 new voters registering to vote ahead of the poll.
Voters are choosing between retaining the Eighth Amendment, which says an unborn child has an equal right to life as the mother, or replacing it to include provision for ‘the regulation of termination of pregnancy’.
Currently, abortion is only allowed when a woman's life is at risk, but not in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality.
In the event of a Yes vote, the Government will introduce legislation permitting unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks.