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Facebook will have a personalised message for all its adult Irish users today...

The social media giant wants us all to make sure we’re on the electoral register before the general election rolls into town in a few weeks.

shutterstock_200145485 Source: Shutterstock/dolphfyn

THERE WILL BE a common message in the Facebook feeds of all users in the Republic of Ireland today.

Of the 2.5 million people who use the social network in Ireland, all those aged 18 or older will see an election-themed reminder popping up in their news-feed.

The reminder? Check the register. The voting register that is.

In a concerted effort to boost the statistics regarding who actually votes here, Mark Zuckerberg’s people are telling us all to make sure our names are on the list of people who are allowed to cast a vote. Given Facebook has become something of a hotbed of political debate here in the last five years, the connection does make intuitive sense.

Facebook’s message will take you to this link – the Department of the Environment’s online register-checking tool. From there the instructions are fairly self-explanatory. If the site says you’re not registered to vote, well then there’s still time to change that fact.

Facebook - Check the Register graphic Source: Facebook

Irish electoral turnout tends to be quite high, with voter uptake for the last election in 2011 being almost exactly 70%.

That being said, the number of people who have strong political opinions doesn’t always correlate with the number of people who actually vote.

“Last year, elections were the most discussed topic on Facebook globally and we anticipate similarly high volumes of discussion ahead of the Irish general election this year,” says Elizabeth Linder, the social network’s European politics and government specialist.

We hope that initiatives like the ‘Check the Register’ notice will help encourage an even higher number of registered voters.

shutterstock_84813442 Source: Shutterstock/Lisa S.

What to do to get on the register

If you’re not on the register, well, then you really should be. Regardless of whether or not you wish to vote in the election, it’s always good to have the option.

First things first, use the link to see if you’re registered.

Be warned, the link isn’t fool-proof (this writer wasn’t able to find himself on it despite moving his vote last year for example) – if you’re certain you’re registered but can’t find yourself on the online tool then give your local county council a ring to check.

At this stage, if you’re either registering for the first time or simply moving your vote it’s too late to go on the actual register – instead you’ll be placed on a supplemental list. Not to worry, your voting rights remain the same.

There is however a time-limit for applying: you need to be on the list with at least 15 days to spare before the actual election date (which is obviously not yet known).

A Dublin City Council (DCC) spokesman told us that the council will endeavour to get all applications received before that cut-off onto the supplemental register. But the message is clear – the earlier you get registered the better for all concerned.

form

The link to the form you need to register to vote is here, while you can get the form needed to change your voting address here.

Be advised you need to get the form stamped and signed at either your local Garda station (preferable) or by a local authority before submitting it to your county or city council for approval.

Extra time may be needed if you’re changing your voting address as both your new and old local authority may need to be in communication with each other, so best to get this done nice and early.

Read: Gerry Adams is hopeful he’ll be Taoiseach for the Easter Rising centenary

Read: The curious case of John Delaney ‘canvassing’ for Alan Kelly is rumbling on

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