Confused as to why there's a bible at your polling station? Here's why that is
Many people have been left bewildered and a little indignant after seeing bibles at polling stations around the country.
Some people were left confused as seeing New Testaments placed at polling stations when casting their votes in the marriage referendum.
There is, however, a relatively valid reason for this.
The bible is used in cases where a voter does not have identification and instead swears an oath that they are who they say they are.
A spokesman for the Department of the Environment said it is a “legal requirement” for a bible to be present in all polling stations, and indeed is standard practice for every referendum and election.
The provision is contained in Section 111 of the Electoral Act 1992. It says that anyone whose name is on the register of electors is entitled to vote, but that the returning or presiding officer who oversees the ballot is entitled to ask for proof of identity before - but not after - a ballot paper is handed over.
Re queries on why bibles are at polling stations. In all elections and referendums they are for people to swear confirmation of identity.— ReferendumCommission (@RefCom_ie) May 22, 2015
Bibles 2. DoE says Bible is there for efficiency cos most commonly used and not intended as affront to anyone. One can swear or affirm.— ReferendumCommission (@RefCom_ie) May 22, 2015
They can also be asked to swear an oath to that effect, using the aforementioned bible for those of a religious persuasion, or make a declaration.
It states: "The returning officer or presiding officer may, and if so required by a personation agent present in the polling station shall, administer to any person when he applies for a ballot paper, but not afterwards, an oath or (in the case of any person who objects to taking an oath on the ground that he has no religious belief or that the taking of an oath is contrary to his religious belief) an affirmation in the following form: