Young people urged to register to vote before deadline

Applications must be lodged by November 25th in order to be able to vote next year

Up to 150,000 young people may not be eligible to vote ahead of the registration deadline on 25th November

Up to 150,000 young people may not be eligible to vote ahead of the registration deadline on 25th November

 

Up to 150,000 young people may not be eligible to vote ahead of the registration deadline on 25th November, the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) has warned.

The council is urging people aged between 18 and 29 to fill out the RFA1 form necessary for registration and post it to the relevant local authority by Thursday 23rd November, or else physically hand it in by the deadline on Saturday 25th November.

The figure of around 150,000 is based on extrapolation from a poll of 404 young people carried out on behalf of the NYCI earlier this year which found that 22 per cent of participants were not registered to vote.

The organisation’s director James Doorley says that although the “vast majority” of this cohort want to vote, many are unaware that they must register to do so.

A number of referendums have been mooted over the course of the 2018/19 period of the next electoral register, including a vote on abortion which has been promised within the first half of next year.

Mr Doorley said anyone who will turn 18 years of age on or before 15th February 2018 is also eligible to register.

He also called for an overhaul of the “cumbersome and outdated” registration system currently in place.

“Every year over 60,000 young people turn 18 and become eligible to vote, yet our cumbersome and outdated system makes it hard for many of them to get on the electoral roll.

“It is ridiculous that in the 21st Century eligible voters cannot register online, we are effectively still administering a 19th Century voter registration system – all that’s missing is the quills.

“These defects and deficiencies will not be solved in the short term, so for now we strongly encourage young people to register to vote and ensure they have a say in electing our public representatives and in decisions and laws that govern us all,” he said.