The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has called for the polling day for the Presidential Election & Referenda to be changed to be held on a weekend.

Students must be able to cast their vote on polling day, which has been scheduled to take place on a Thursday, on October 27th. 

If the polling day is held on a weekday, many citizens, who work or attend college outside of their constituency, will be unable to make it home on time to vote. 

USI is calling on the Government to begin holding all elections and referenda on a Saturday, as is common across Europe, and which both coalition parties advocated prior to going into Government.

USI President, Gary Redmond, said: 

“The fact that the impending election and referenda is to be held on a Thursday has excluded many people from being able to vote. It is physically impossible for students and other people to get home from work and college in good time to vote on a weekday. 

There is only a 48 hour window after an election is called for students to register for a postal vote – this is too short and requires an immediate change in legislation. 

In addition to this, schools and other public buildings will also have to close on Thursday causing huge disruption to the general public. All elections should be held on Saturday as is common across the rest of the continent. 

Participating in our democracy needs to be accessible for the students of Ireland, who are the future taxpayers of this country and will be burdened with paying for the bank bailout and the IMF loan.”