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Registering to Vote

Introduction

The Register of Electors

Who can vote in elections and referenda?/

Postal Voters List

How to apply                                                   

                                                         

Introduction

In order to vote in an election or referendum in Ireland, you must be registered to vote.

Being registered to vote means that you can participate in deciding who represents you at local government level, national government level and European government level.

The Register of Electors

Every local authority in Ireland is responsible for compiling and publishing a list of voters in its area. This is called the Register of Electors or the Electoral Register. Anyone can inspect this Register and it is available in all local authority offices, post offices, Garda stations and public libraries. You can check the Electoral Register online here.

The published Register contains the voter's name, address, polling station and category of voter. For inclusion in the Register of Electors you must complete application form RFA which is available from your local authority, to whom it must be returned.

A new draft Register is compiled each year and is published on 1 November.

To be eligible to be included in the Register of Electors, you must:
Be at least 18 years old on the day the Register comes into force (15 February)
Have been ordinarily resident in the State on 1 September in the year preceding the coming into force of the Register.

Students living away from home while attending college have the choice of being registered at either their home address or their student residential address. You must be registered at one address only and you must live at that address on 1 September before the register comes into force. If you live away from the address at which you are registered, you will need to contact the registration authority and give them your new address. If you leave your address but you plan to return there within 18 months, you can continue to be registered there, as long you do not register at any other address.

Correcting your details in the draft Register

If you need to add your name or change your entry in the draft Register, you can do this up to 25 November each year. You must fill in form RFA1 for the draft Register. You can get an RFA1 form from your local post office or public library. Forms are also available from your local authority and this is where completed forms should be returned to.

If you are applying because you have moved to a new address, you should include this information and your former address so that you can be removed from the register for that area.

The amended Register of Electors is published on 1 February and comes into force on 15 February. 

The supplement to the Register of Electors

If your name is not on the Register of Electors in February, you may still make an application to be included in a supplement to the Register on form RFA2. You can make this application at any time, but in order to be included in the supplement used at an election, your application must be received by your local authority at least 15 days before polling day (Sundays, public holidays and Good Friday are not counted as days for this purpose).

You are eligible for inclusion in the supplement to the Register of Electors on or after the day on which you reach 18 years of age. You can be included if this birthday falls after the closing date for applications but is on or before polling day. If you are within this category, you should accompany your application with a copy of your birth certificate.

You can apply for inclusion on the supplement as a result of changing address on form RFA3. This will also remove you from the register for your previous address. 

The Electoral Register and direct marketing

Local authorities publish two versions of the Register of Electors: the full register and the edited register.

The Full Register lists everyone who is entitled to vote. Once a Full Register has been published, it can only be used for an electoral or other statutory purpose.

The Edited Register contains the names and addresses of those voters who have indicated that their details can be used for other purposes (for example, for direct marketing use by a commercial company or other organisation).

If you do not want your details to be included in the Edited Register, you should tick the "opt out" box on the registration form. If you want your details to be included in the Edited Register, that is, you are happy that commercial companies and other organisations will contact you with direct marketing, you should leave the "opt out" box blank.

If you do not tick the "opt out" box, it is assumed that you want your details to be included in the Edited Register, if you do not wish your details to appear on the Edited Register tick the "opt out" box.

It is an offence for an organisation/commercial body to contact someone from the full electoral register for direct marketing purposes. This was set down in law under Section 32 of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001. Find out more about how to deal with unsolicited direct marketing material in Ireland.

Who can vote in elections and referenda?/Postal Voters List

For more information click Who can vote in elections and referenda.pdf (size 103.4 KB)

How to apply

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

Forms are also available on www.checktheregister.ie.

Completed forms must be returned to your local authority.