I’m not sure how but could the non implementation of the 1979 referendum to extend the franchise to all graduates have something to do with the corrupt manner in which Senate elections are conducted?
I’m thinking perhaps that if the franchise was extended it might have diluted political manipulation of the election outcome.
This would explain why no political party has ever objected to the non implementation.
Here’s part of an RTE interview with Stephen Collins during the 2007 Senate election after the Green Party (naively) objected to illegal supervision of voting.
Collins: The Greens find that supervision is an intrusion and in fact it’s illegal. The political parties have done this over the years.
The big parties, Fianna Fail and I think Fine Gael have tried to ensure that their councilors voted in ways the party HQ would like and at times ballots have been supervised.
There has been deals before, the PDs voted for FF candidates in the last election and in return got Seanad seats.
Again there was talk of the votes being supervised but in fact it’s illegal to supervise voting and the Green councilors had legitimacy making that point.
How is it done?
Collins: Well, Councillors get their votes, ballot papers in the post but they have to have a witness to ensure they have voted in the correct manner.
There is a declaration and usually a County Manager signs the declaration which goes into another envelope.
What the parties try to do is get the Councillors in a group so that as well as the County Manager verifying that it’s being done legally, that parties can have influence over how Councillors vote.