The Irish are turning out in droves to vote Friday in a referendum that will determine whether abortion will remain illegal in the nation.
Voting booths opened at 7 a.m., and initial reports show that many more voters have cast their ballots than did at the same time during Ireland’s May 2015 referendum to legalize gay marriage, the Irish Times reported. The voting booths will remain open until 10 p.m. Friday night and officials are set to begin counting votes at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Ireland saw an incredible surge in voter registration ahead of Friday’s referendum. Roughly 125,000 voters were added to the list of voters registered to participate in the referendum, marking a 90-percent increase in the number of registered voters compared to Ireland’s 2015 referendum on gay marriage, according to the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI). (RELATED: Young Americans Fight To Keep Abortion Out Of Ireland)
Ireland’s Eighth Amendment outlaws and penalizes those who attempt or successfully abort an unborn child. Abortion advocates have called for the amendment to be changed, calling it “archaic and dangerous.”
Persons who violate the law can face up to 14 years behind bars.
Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told reporters that he will vote “Yes” Friday, the Irish Times reported.
Facebook and Google banned all foreign ads related to Ireland’s upcoming referendum on abortion in an effort to deter foreign entities from influencing the vote. (RELATED: Facebook Bans Foreign Ads On Irish Abortion Referendum)
Fewer than three in 10 Irish support elective abortions — abortions for reasons other than to save the mother’s life, grave fetal abnormalities and rape cases — according to Breaking News.
The vote will be tight, recent polling suggested. Results should be announced Saturday afternoon.
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