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Children's Rights Referendum: Three days left to register for your vote

Applications to get onto the Supplementary Register of Elections close on Tuesday. Here’s what to do.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THREE WEEKS FROM TODAY will see polling on the proposed 31st Amendment to the Constitution, on whether to include a new article on the rights of the child.

About 3.2 million will be eligible to vote in the referendum, which is open to all Irish citizens living within the Republic who are 18 or older by polling day, November 10.

Although the formal register of electors is only updated once a year (a new one is issued every February), each public vote means the production of a ‘supplementary register of electors’ – meaning those who weren’t previously registered still have a chance to vote.

Applications to get onto the register close 15 days ahead of polling (not including public holidays or Sundays) – meaning next Tuesday, October 23, is the last day to get yourself registered.

So – how do you make sure you’re registered?

The easiest way to ensure you’re registered is to visit www.CheckTheRegister.ie and choose your local council from the drop-down list: from there you can enter your details and ensure that you’re registered at your current address.

The lists on that website should be updated to include the last time Ireland went to the polls – for the referendum on the Fiscal Compact on May 31.

If you’re not there, but are eligible to vote – or you ARE included, but at the wrong address – there’s an application form you’ll need to fill out. The specific form will depend on what your current circumstances are.

  • If you’re on the register as it appears online, but your details are not correct, you’ll need form RFA1.
  • If you don’t appear on the register already, but you want to be included in time for next month’s referendum, you’ll need form RFA2.
  • If you’re on the register at an old address, and you need to change to another one, you’ll need RFA3.

All three of those forms are available from the same website as before, www.checktheregister.ie.

Bear in mind that some (but not all) of the forms will need to be signed by a Garda – and that Garda will need to witness your own signature as well. So read the form carefully, and if it includes a Garda signature, make sure both you and the Garda sign it together.

Once that’s done, get your form sent off in the post – addressed to the Franchise Section of your local county or city council (check their own website for a precise address). Putting it in the post over the weekend should ensure it’s there by Tuesday, but if you’d rather be sure, you can always drop it off in person.

You should be aware that Councils are usually pretty busy when it’s coming up to deadline time, meaning you probably won’t get a letter or phone call confirming the receipt of your form. Your name also won’t appear on the electronic version of the register that appears online.

This means the first – and only – time you should find out whether your form has been processed is when your polling card arrives. Many councils will be able to tell you over the phone, however, if they’re received your application and if all is okay with it.

One more thing: if you’ve used form RFA3 in the past, to change your address from one to the other, the change you made is considered permanent. Your ‘new’ address will be on the full register of electors and should appear on the electronic list. Call your council if not.

Unfortunately, it’s too late at this stage to register for a postal vote.

Read: First major opinion poll shows ‘Yes’ leading the way in referendum

More: Referendum Commission asks broadcasters to give more time to bulletins

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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