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'A complete fabrication' - You cannot be taken off the electoral register by phone

A number of people on Twitter had suggested the idea in recent days.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL says that an online suggestion that voters can be removed from the electoral register over the phone by others is false.

The idea had been floated in recent days by a number of people on Twitter, with some on the Repeal side of next month’s referendum on the Eighth Amendment suggesting people could be removed from the register unknowingly and maliciously.

When a reporter from TheJournal.ie tried to be removed by calling the council and asking for a named person to be removed, we were told the rumour is “a complete fabrication”.

However, Dublin City Council, which operates the largest register in the country, says that despite speculation, many are simply missing from the register because it hasn’t yet been updated for the upcoming referendum. The Department of Housing and Local Government says that it is “not possible to be removed from the register before the referendum in May”.

“The only time a person’s name would be removed would be so that they could join the supplementary at a new address. Therefore many of the doubts being cast online are unfounded.”

The existing register came into force on 15 February this year and remains in force until 14 February 2019. Anyone registered on or before 15 February will remain on it until next year. Anyone who corrected an address or name, added themselves or changed address after that date will be reflected in the supplemental register which will be published before polling day.

DCC says that it is on voters to ensure they are on the draft register, which is released on 1 November each year.

It added that removing someone from the register is more complicated than a single phone call.

In order to remove yourself from the register we require a written request (i.e. letter, email request) from the elector. On receipt of the request, the Franchise Section issues a letter to the elector notifying them that we intend to delete them from the register.

The council says that in cases of deaths or if a person is no longer resident at an address, others can ask for their removal, but only by following the process.

“In order to remove someone else from the register (i.e. incorrect resident registered at an address) we require a written request (i.e. registration form, letter, email etc.). On receipt of the request, the Franchise Section issues a letter to the elector notifying them that we intend to remove them from the register and asking them to contact us if they do not want us to proceed. If we do not receive a response we proceed with the deletion.

In order to remove someone else from the register (i.e. death notification) we require a written request from a relative. We also receive death notifications from the Department of Social Protection so we can remove deceased electors from the register. We do not issue letters to electors who have been removed for this reason.

The Department of Housing added:

“In relation to removing electors from the register, registration authorities are required to send a notice to a person, whose name it is proposed to omit from the draft register, indicating that they have failed to establish that the person is still resident at the address and unless evidence to the contrary is provided within 10 days, their name will be removed.

In addition, any person may claim to have a correction made to the draft register following its publication. The claim must be made to the registration authority by 25 November and it may include, in particular, a claim to have the name of a person added or deleted. Such claims are ruled on, in public, by the appropriate county registrar and interested parties must be given notice of the time and location of the proposed hearing. An appeal may be made in the Circuit Court in relation to a decision of a county registrar.
After the final register comes into force (on 15 February), a person’s name can only be removed if they have applied successfully for entry on the supplement to the register as a result of a change of residence, which can be within the constituency or to another constituency. In such cases, the person’s name on the register in respect of their previous address is deleted and they are registered at their 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.

Voters in next month’s referendum have until 8 May to get registered. If you’re not sure if you’re already on it, you can check the register on checktheregister.ie, which provides links to the local authorities who look after the register for each area.

TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here

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