Friday 25 May 2018

Explainer: Everything you need to know about registering to vote in the abortion referendum

Today, May 8, is the final day to register

Stock image: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Stock image: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

In less than three weeks, voters across Ireland will take to the polls to vote on repealing the Eighth Amendment.

Today, May 8, is the final day to register so here's everything you need to know about making sure your voice is heard:

When is the referendum?

The referendum on the Eighth Amendment will take place on Friday, May 25 2018.

Who can vote in a referendum?

Any Irish citizen over the age of 18 can vote in the referendum if they are registered to vote.

If you are resident in Ireland but not an Irish citizen, you also have the right to vote in some of the elections.

Can Irish citizens living abroad vote in the referendum?

If you are an Irish citizen living abroad you cannot be entered on the Register of Electors. This means that you cannot vote in an election or referendum here in Ireland. The only exception to this is Irish diplomats and their spouses, who are on duty abroad and may cast their vote by post.

How do I know if I'm registered to vote?

If you're unsure if you are registered to vote, you can check here on the Referendum Commission's website. It's as simple as checking the Register of Electors and putting in your details.

How do I register to vote?

Application forms for inclusion on the Electoral Register, Special Voters List, Postal Voters List and Correction of the draft electoral register are available from all local authorities, post offices and public libraries.

Forms are also available here. Completed forms must be returned to your local authority before May 8.

Can you vote by post?

Normally, you must vote in person at an official voting centre. However, you may be able to vote by post if you are:

  •     a full-time member of the Defence Force
  •     a member of An Garda Síochána
  •     an Irish diplomat or his/her spouse posted abroad

You may also be eligible for a postal vote if you cannot go to a polling station because:

  •     You have a physical illness or disability
  •     You are studying full time at an educational institution in Ireland, which is away from your home address where you are registered.
  •     You are unable to vote at your polling station because of your occupation
  •     You are unable to vote at your polling station because you are in prison as a result of an order of a court

You must register to vote 22 days (excluding Sundays and public holidays) before polling day for other elections or referenda. Applications for a postal vote had to be submitted by April 28, according to Dublin City Council.

Where is my local polling station?

This information is available on your polling card which will be sent out closer to the referendum.

A spokesperson for the Referendum Commission urged people to register as soon as possible.

“The Referendum Commission urges everyone to check the register to ensure they are on it, so as they can vote on May 25th.  You can do so by visiting checktheregister.ie, and if you are not on the register you can download the forms there to register.

"There is not much time left. The completed forms have to be brought to your local Garda station with proof of identity, certified, and then submitted to your local authority by Tuesday May 8th. Bearing in mind that there is a Bank Holiday weekend just before that date we would urge people to act as soon as possible.”

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