Ballot paper photographs and low-information elections in Ireland

Fiona Buckley, Neil Collins, Theresa Reidy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


In an attempt to facilitate greater voting participation in the Republic of Ireland, photographs of candidates have been placed on the ballot paper for local, national and European elections. Limited research undertaken in advance of the implementation of the photograph policy advised that the measure would assist people with literacy problems. However, social psychology research has long demonstrated that people are willing to make considerable judgements about a person when shown a photograph. The advent of ballot paper photographs allows candidates to be evaluated on the basis of their appearance. This article will explore how photographs could have become a factor in voter decision-making. Providing additional knowledge to encourage greater participation and engagement has introduced a possible new level of superficiality into the voter decision-making process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-181
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

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