The Electoral Commission is likely to examine the completeness and accuracy of the Electoral Register as part of its research.
The register has been accused in the past of having “massive inaccuracies”. In 2016, an independent researcher claimed that that almost half a million people too many were registered to vote throughout the country. Such discrepancies were rejected by the Department of Housing at the time.
The Commission, which was established this year, will appear before an Oireachtas Committee for the first time on Tuesday when its chief executive Art O’Leary will take questions on its mandate and its work to date at a meeting of the Housing Committee.
In an opening statement supplied to the Committee, Mr O’Leary has said that, while the Commission will not be the body which will keep the registers (that will remain under the control of local authorities), it will have a significant oversight role in ensuring the registers are up-to-date and accurate.
“In relation to the Electoral Register, we may carry out research in relation to the accuracy and completeness of electoral registers; the maintenance of electoral registers; and the processes relating to the compilation and the overall functioning of the electoral registers.
“Each year, the Commission will publish a report setting out our assessment of the status and functioning of the Electoral Register, and any recommendations the Commission considers necessary to maintain and enhance the integrity of the Electoral Register and the registration process,” he will say.
Mr O’Leary will say that Commission’s first official task will be to deliver the independent information campaign for the two referendums on equality (to replace the Constitution reference to the role of women in the home) which are scheduled to take place.
He also said it would begin to research how to best approach public engagement and education as to the electoral system as well as encouraging under-reached groups to participate in the electoral process. These groups include people with disabilities and people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, including Traveller and Roma communities.