Seanad Éireann - Volume 5 - 01 July, 1925


AN CATHAOIRLEACH: Our first business is the selection of the Seanad Panel for the Triennial Election pursuant to Article 33 (a) of the Constitution. We have, of course, to proceed with this election in a very formal and strict way. As this is the first election of its kind, it is desirable that we should do it with all the formality possible, as it will be a precedent for those who come after us. There are, however, one or two matters I wish to mention at the outset and I ask the Seanad to help me, as it will facilitate the voting. In the first place, I should like to mention [769] that in order to secure that there will be no question hereafter raised, as to the possibility of any Senator voting more than once, I propose that the voting papers be placed on the Table and that there shall be a list of Senators, and each Senator coming forward shall initial the list so that that will, so to speak, be a receipt for a ballot paper.

When the papers have been distributed in that way, I want to remind Senators that the proper method of voting is to start with a candidate whom they prefer amongst all the candidates and place the figure 1 in front of his name. That is, of course, wholly irrespective of his position on the voting paper. The person whom you choose for your first vote is to have the figure 1 in the vacant space before his name, and I want you, in doing that, to be particular as far as possible to occupy the middle of the vacant space with the number, because otherwise the scrutineers may be puzzled to know for which candidate you intend to vote. If Senators will kindly, when putting the figure 1, 2 or 3, according to their selection, before the names of the candidates, fill in the figures as neatly as possible in the space provided, it will obviate such mistakes. Having selected a first candidate and having put the figure 1 in front of his name, you are entitled to go through the entire list and select candidates according to your choice, and put in the numbers 2, 3, 4, and so on, consecutively, before the names of the candidates, again irrespective of their places on the ballot paper. No. 2, for instance, may be the last on the list. You need have no regard to the order in which they stand on the paper, but only have regard for your own choice. You can go on in that way up to No. 29, but if you break the sequence, and if you write, for instance, 1, 2, 3, 4, and instead of recording 5, put down the figure 6, your vote is no longer counted after the figure 4. Your voting must, in other words, be consecutive. You are not to sign the ballot paper or put any mark upon it, except these consecutive numbers.

If a Senator fails in filling a ballot [770] paper properly by an accidental mistake, he can bring the paper to me and he can get a second paper. The first paper must be handed to me, and the second paper must be handed in during the time of voting. The voting will commence at once and must close at four o'clock, unless the House has finished its business and adjourns sooner. It may be convenient if we take this course. We have business that will occupy us for half an hour, or an hour, and it may be convenient if we proceed with the ordinary business up to 3.30 and then have a lull in order that we might complete the voting in peace, order and good-will. The other matter which I have to mention is this, that while I can find no express provision on the point, I have come to the conclusion that your Chairman ought not to take any part in the voting. The Constitution provides that where matters are to be decided in the Dáil or Seanad by the votes of persons present, all the members present shall vote other than the Chairman, who shall have a casting vote. That indicates that the intention was that he should not have an original vote. In view of that fact, and because I happen to be the Returning Officer appointed by you, I think it would be more proper for me to abstain from voting.

Mr. GOODBODY: Can members write in pencil or ink on their papers?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH: It is quite enough to fill the numbers in in pencil as long as they are legible. It will be sufficient if Senators initial the list on the Table when they get their ballot papers.

Mr. DOUGLAS: Possibly it would be convenient if some understanding were arrived at as to what business we are to take now. I notice that some Ministers are here, and it might be convenient to them to know the order of business.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH: I think we could take the business as it stands on the Order Paper.

Mr. DOUGLAS: Would it not be more convenient to take the Finance [771] Bill after the lull and take the other Bills now and dispose of them?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH: Very well, we will do that.