Voter turnout low across Ireland in presidential election and blasphemy referendum
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Voter turnout low across Ireland in presidential election and blasphemy referendum

VOTER TURNOUT in today's presidential election and referendum on blasphemy is reportedly low across large parts of Ireland so far.

Polls opened at 7am this morning and will not close until the counting process begins at 10pm tonight.

The Dublin City returning office, which covers five constituencies, said turnout at midday was averaging at little more than 10%.

The situation is much the same across the north, west and south - with areas including Carlow/Kilkenny, Mayo and Leitrim reporting single figures.

Kilkenny City has reported the highest turnout in the country so far at around 15%.

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Overall turnout appears to be in the high single digits or low double digits across the country - far behind what it was during the Eighth Amendment referendum in May and most previous presidential elections.

Two votes

President Michael D Higgins is seeking re-election to Áras an Uachtaráin, but voters are being offered five other options for Ireland's next head of state.

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada and Independent Senator Joan Freeman are joined by the three Dragons' Den businessmen Peter Casey, Seán Gallagher and Gavin Duffy on the ballot paper.

Votes are also being cast in the referendum on blasphemy.

A 'Yes' vote would amend the Irish Constitution to remove the criminal offence of blasphemy.

A 'No' vote would leave the constitution as it is.

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Voters are advised to bring their voting card and official ID with them to polling stations.