Google gets political for 23 May, reminding the voting public in Ireland to exercise their right and have their say in choosing their representatives for the European Parliament – the only European Union institution directly elected by its citizens.
Voting in the European Parliament elections began yesterday, 22 May, in the UK and the Netherlands. Today, the polls open in Ireland and the Czech Republic, followed by Malta, Slovakia and Latvia on 24 May, and the remaining the EU member states on 25 May.
Google has marked the day on its search engine homepage with a specially designed logo in blue and gold, depicting a ballot box emblazoned with the European Union flag and a vote being slipped inside.
Voting in Ireland
In all, 400m people are eligible to vote in the eighth European elections, selecting the 751 MEPs who will sit on the European Parliament for the next five years. During this time, MEPs are expected to vote on legislation concerning climate change, the EU-US trade deal, and data protection rules, among other things.
Things have changed a bit for Ireland’s representation on the European Parliament, dropping from 12 seats to 11. This resulted in a change to the constituencies, which were reduced from four to three: Midlands-North-West, South and Dublin.
The European Parliament constituencies of Ireland
Across the country, there are 41 candidates in contention for the 11 European Parliament seats, and it’s not just MEPs who will be voted in today. Local elections and two Dáil byelections are also taking place.
Elections to the European Parliament will also help to determine the next president of the European Commission, with new rules giving voters more power than ever before. The European political parties have already selected their candidates for the presidency, and these results will be taken into consideration when it comes to electing the new European Commission president.
Follow the elections online
The first direct elections to the European Parliament were held in 1979, when the European Union had only nine member states. There are now 28 member states and technology has transformed how we approach elections in 2014, as voters, candidates, political parties and the European Parliament itself make use of social media and online resources to engage and interact.
In the three days leading up to the first polls opening, 155,000 tweets had been sent using the #EP2014 hashtag. As well as Twitter and other social networks, you can follow progress of the European elections – with exit polls, projections and final results – on the 2014 European Elections Tumblr blog.
It will be next week before we find out which MEPs will be taking their seat on the European Parliament, as counting will begin on Sunday. The last polling stations close at 10pm IST on 25 May, and preliminary results are expected at this time.
A live feed of the count and results is available on the European Parliament website.