Ireland seeks PR agency for e-voting drive

DUBLIN: The Irish government is to draft in a PR agency to advise on a £3.4m marcoms campaign to promote electronic voting in next year’s European and local elections.

Six PR agencies are in the running to help promote the use of the electronic voting machines.

Individual PR agencies in the running for the work are Carr Communications, Drury Communications and QMP D’Arcy.

Three joint-bids have also been made. The contenders are: Fleishman-Hillard Saunders and advertising agency Irish International; Financial Dynamics and ad firm Owens DDB; and Q4 and the ad division of McConnells.

Mary Ryan, higher executive officer in the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government’s franchise division, said an appointment was expected ‘before the end of November’, although she added that it was possible that the decision could be made later.

Electronic voting machines designed and manufactured by Dutch electronic voting company Nedap were piloted in the Irish Republic in three constituencies during the country’s general election in May last year.

The scheme was subsequently expanded to a further four constituencies for the country’s referendum on the EU’s Nice Treaty last year, and will be rolled out across Ireland for the 2004 elections.

Sixty-three per cent of voters turned out in the Irish general election, but there was an average turnout of just 58 per cent in those constituencies piloting the e-voting scheme.

For the Nice Treaty vote, 49 per cent of citizens went to the polls, with just above 50 per cent voting in the expanded number of constituencies piloting the new scheme.

Elections for the European Parliament will be held in Ireland next June.

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