Sunday 20 October 2019

Government to modernise how people sign up to vote - and wants to use your PPS number

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Stock photo
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Government proposals for modernising how people sign up to vote include an online system and anonymous electoral roll listings for domestic abuse victims.

The Government is today beginning a three-month public consultation on ideas to improve the current electoral roll system. Junior minister John Paul Phelan said current procedures for signing up to vote are complicated, with more than 20 different paper forms for different types of changes to the register.

The Government is proposing to slash the number of forms and introduce an online system where citizens could register using their PPS number.

Mr Phelan stressed online registration would be optional and people would still be able to sign up using paper forms.

One option being considered for accessing the online system would be the use of controversial Public Services Cards (PSC) and their corresponding online portal MyGovID.

But Mr Phelan said people would "absolutely not" be required to have a PSC to vote. The use of PPS numbers is being considered because it's the most complete, publicly held database on citizens' details.

The Data Protection Commissioner is being consulted and if the proposal was adopted, PPS numbers would not appear on the electoral register.

Mr Phelan said anonymous registration for people who have been granted barring orders due to domestic abuse is being looked at to protect their addresses from perpetrators.

The Government is also proposing a streamlined approach to registration for homeless people.

Irish Independent

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