Election 2020: Voters must register by close of business on Wednesday

Youth council urges thousands who have become eligible since last year to sign up

This Wednesday is the deadline for inclusion on the electoral register in order to be able to vote in the general election on February 8th.

Those who are not on last year’s register or the supplementary register have until the close on business on Wednesday to return the necessary forms to their local authority.

Close of business is defined as whenever the local authority office in that area shuts; for most that is 5pm.

The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) has made a final call for young people to ensure they are registered. The NYCI has said thousands have turned 18 and become eligible to vote since last year’s local and European elections.

James Doorley, deputy director of the NYCI has urged young people "not to leave it to the last minute" to check if they are on the electoral register.

“We are anxious to ensure that those who turned 18 since the local and European elections in May 2019 are included in the electoral register and will be in a position to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming general election,” he said.

“Any young person who is 18 years of age on or before February 8th, 2020, next is eligible for inclusion in the updated voters list.

“We are also eager to ensure those young people who may have registered between May and November 2019, check they are eligible to vote in the election on February 8th as even if they submitted forms during this period they may only be eligible to vote on February 15th, 2020.”

The register is updated every year on February 15th as stipulated in the Electoral Act 1992.

Anyone who is in doubt can go online to checktheregister.ie or contact their local city or county council to see if they are on the supplementary register of electors.

Application form

Those not on the supplementary register are advised to download the RFA2 form from checktheregister.ie, or collect it from their local authority, and then bring it with photo ID to their local Garda station and have it signed in the presence of a member of the force, who will then stamp the form.

These forms must then be returned to the local authority on or before the close of business on Wednesday, January 22nd.

“For almost every election and referendum we get calls from young people who have missed the registration deadline and are disappointed that they cannot vote, so we urge young people to make sure they are registered and not to leave it to the last minute,” Mr Doorley added.

At a Cabinet meeting earlier this month, the Government approved draft legislation that aims to reform the electoral registration process.

The legislation proposes changes to the identity verification process as well as an online registration system, which will mean that most people will not have to go to a Garda station to have their form stamped.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times