Thousands risk missing out on opportunity to vote
THE risk of disappointment on polling day is looming large for thousands of voters who recently applied to join the electoral register.
The unexpected timing of the election for January means that anyone who applied to join the register since February 15 last cannot vote unless they now reapply to go on the supplementary register.
A Department of Environment spokesman last night confirmed that the draft register was updated at local authority level every year and new applications are not valid until the new register comes into force on February 15 of each year.
However, he could not confirm how many people would have to reapply.
Would-be voters who applied to join the register months ago may not realise they cannot vote in the forthcoming election unless they reapply.
Every local authority in Ireland is responsible for compiling and publishing a list of voters in its area.
As of February 15, 2010, a total of 3,154,588 were registered to vote. But typically, there is a rush to join the supplementary register in the weeks before an election.
Anyone who wishes to check if they are properly registered to vote can go to www.checktheregister.ie. The register is also available for inspection in all local authority offices, post offices, garda stations and public libraries.
Meanwhile, the Union of Students in Ireland yesterday called for the general election to be held on a Saturday.
USI president Gary Redmond said: "Students must be able to cast their vote. Students are the future taxpayers of this country and will be burdened with paying for the bank bail-out and the IMF loan."