In order to register to vote in elections in Ireland, you must satisfy three requirements
A person must be at least 18 years on the day the register comes into force (15 February). Each resident aged 18 and upwards is entitled to be on the register.
While every adult resident is entitled to be registered, the registration authority needs to know a person's citizenship, because this determines the elections in which a person may vote. The qualifying date for citizenship is 1 September, preceding the coming into force of the register. The right to vote is as follows:
- Irish citizens may vote at every election and referendum
- British citizens may vote at Dáil, European and local elections
- Other EU citizens may vote at European and local elections
- Non-EU citizens may vote at local elections only.
A person must be "ordinarily resident" at the relevant address on 1 September preceding the coming into force of the register. A person may be registered at one address only. If a person has more than one address - for example, a person living away from home to attend college - the registration authority should be told the address for which the person wishes to be registered.
A person who leaves his or her ordinary residence with the intention of returning there within 18 months can continue to be registered there, subject to the overriding condition that they may be registered at one address only.
A person who is absent temporarily from his or her ordinary address; such as a person on holiday, in hospital or absent for employment purposes, should be registered for that address. A visitor or person staying temporarily at the address should not be registered.
Preparation of the Register
In order to register to vote in elections in Ireland, the registration authority may require a person to produce evidence to support their eligibility to vote. This may include:
- A Birth Certificate
- A Certificate of Naturalisation.
The draft register is published on 1 November, and is made available for examination at post offices, public libraries, Garda stations, courthouses and Local Authority offices up to 25 November. The public is invited to check the draft during this period, to ensure that registrations are correct.
Any errors or omissions in the draft should be brought immediately to the attention of the registration authority. Claims for the addition or deletion of names are ruled on by the County Registrar, who is a legally qualified court officer.
The ruling is made in public, and any person may attend and give evidence. Interested persons are notified of the County Registrar's decision. An appeal may be made in the circuit court against a County Registrar's decision.
The final Register is published on 1 February, and comes into force for a year on 15 February.
You can now check your name on line at www.checktheregister.ie
Postal Voters List
The closing date for postal voters to be included in the supplement is two days after the order for an election or referendum is signed. An elector whose name is entered in the Postal Voters List may vote by post only at an election or referendum, and may not vote at a polling station.
The following categories of persons can be registered as postal voters:
- Electors with a physical illness who are living at home
- Electors who are unable to vote at their polling station, due to circumstances of occupation
- Whole-time members of the Defence Forces. Members who live in military barracks may be registered either at the barracks or at their home address
- Irish diplomats posted abroad, and their spouses where they are registered at their home address in Ireland
- Members of the Garda Síochána (Irish police force) have the option of being registered as ordinary electors or as postal voters. In either case, they are registered at their home address
- Persons unable to vote in person because of the circumstances, such as their detention in prison, pursuant to an Order of a Court.
A new application for every category above must be submitted each year.
An elector registered as a postal voter may vote by post only and may not vote at a polling station.
Special Voters List
If you are living in a hospital or Nursing Home and have a physical illness or physical disability which prevents you from going to a Polling Station to vote, you may apply for inclusion in the Special Voters List.
In order to qualify for the Special Voters List, an elector's physical disability must be likely to continue for the duration of the register and prevent him/her from going to the polling station to vote. To apply, fill out the application form for entry into the Special Voters List.
Applications to be entered on the Special Voters List must be made by 25 November, and in the case of a first application, must be accompanied by a medical certificate.
Electors on the Special Voters List vote by marking a ballot paper delivered to them by a special presiding officer, accompanied by a member of the Garda Síochána.
A new Application must be submitted each year.
More information for voters with disabilities is available from the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government.
Supplement to the Register
In order to qualify for the supplement to the Electoral Register, you must meet the citizenship, residence and age requirements that apply to the register.
Application for entry in the supplement must be received by the Registration Authority at least 15 working days before polling day to be considered for that election or referendum.
The closing date for postal voters to be included in the supplement is two days after the day the order for an election or referendum is signed. Persons entered into the supplement are entitled to vote at elections and referenda held during the currency of the register.
Inspecting the Register
You can inspect the register during working hours at the offices of the Registration Authority or that of the County Registrar, and at public libraries, post offices and Garda stations.
You can purchase a copy of the register, or extracts, from the Registration Authority for a fee of 65c for the first hundred names, and 15c for each subsequent hundred names. Copies of the register are provided free to elected public representatives and election candidates.
You can also inspect the register online using the eReg System. This is updated on November 1st and February 1st each year.
Change of Address
If you are on the Register of Electors and you move from one constituency to another constituency, or to a different local electoral area, you can apply for entry to the supplement at your new address. You must first let the registration authority know that you have moved, so they can delete your name from the register in the area where you previously lived.
To be included in the supplement following a change of address a person must be:
- Already on the register in respect of their previous address
- Ordinarily resident at the address at which they now wish to be registered.
Registering to vote is governed by the Electoral Act 1992 and is available on the Irish Statute Book, or in hard copy from the Government Publications Sales Office, in Dublin. Their address is as follows:
Government Publications Sales Office,
Sun Alliance House,
Telephone: (01) 647 6879
More information on voting in Ireland can be found here.