The way people register to vote or amend their details (for example, address) on the Register of Electors has not changed significantly since the foundation of the State. The Government now intends to reform and modernise the electoral registration process with the aim of enabling people to register in simpler and more user-friendly ways and has recently launched a public consultation process regarding the reform proposals.
There are seven main proposals:
1. Simplification of forms and the registration process
2. A rolling electoral register (continuous registration)
3. Optional online registration (with the option of registering with paper forms continuing) and secure self-service
4. A move to individual registration only
5. Enabling a single national electoral register database with unique identifiers
6. A move to verified identity using one’s Personal Public Service Number (PPSN)
7. Data sharing between public bodies and electoral registration authorities (local authorities) to maintain accuracy and comprehensiveness
The Government is also considering allowing provisional registration for 16-17 year olds, with registration automatically becoming active on someone’s 18th birthday, specific registration provision for people with no fixed address (for example, people experiencing homelessness, provision for anonymous registration for people whose safety may be at risk if their details are public on the register (for example, where court-ordered protections exist) and removal of provision for the edited register, which is used infrequently but may no longer be an appropriate use of data connected with the electoral register.
The purpose of these proposals is to develop a simplified rregistration process - one form, one process, one register – all year round, creating a single, secure database to enable cross-local authority checks while protecting data. The new process balances security and ease of access to protect the integrity of the registration process to create an electoral register that is secure, comprehensive and accurate and allows data sharing in the future, subject to clear standards, limits and safeguards
Launching the public consultation process, Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform, John Paul Phelan, T.D.,Minister Phelan said: “Reducing the number of different registration forms; allowing people to register online; and introducing a process of continuous or rolling registration would make the registration process much more user-friendly and similar to the way people interact with other State services. These changes reflect changes in how we live today.”
Electoral Registration Project Consultation, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Custom House, Dublin 1 D01 W6X0
Print copies of the proposals can be requested by emailing the address above.
The deadline for sending in a submission is 15 March 2019.
Note: All submissions (including names) will be published on the website of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (www.housing.gov.ie).
All submissions are also subject to Freedom of Information requests.
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