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If you've registered to vote in the past 8 months, you may need to register again

Next Wednesday is the last day you have to register in time for the upcoming election.

"I've Voted" stickers at a polling station in Dublin.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

HAVE YOU REGISTERED to vote?

If you registered in time for the European and local elections last year, then you will be able to vote in the upcoming general election on Saturday 8 February.

If you registered after the European and local elections, the deadline for which was 7 May last year, then you’re not yet on the actual Register of Electors; this is because Ireland’s register is officially updated with new voters and changes of address on 15 February each year.

So the Register of Electors 2019-2020 will be used for the upcoming general election, with those who were placed on the supplementary register for the local and European elections also included on the final, ‘live’ list. Those who registered after this, however, are only on the draft register.

If you haven’t registered to vote at all, there’s still a week before the deadline of 22 January – the last day you can be added to the supplementary register.

For the latter two groups, here’s how to get yourself on the electoral register in time to vote in the upcoming general election.

1. Where am I?

Register change of address The RFA3 form: In order to register a change of address. Source: Citizens Information

First of all, go to checktheregister.ie to see if your name and latest address (or where you want to vote) are included on the final 2019-2020 Register of Electors. 

If you’re in the Dublin area you can use Voter.ie to check if you’re on the electoral or supplementary register, but you need a Public Services Card and MyGovID to register or change your details.

You can also check if you’re registered with your local authority; if you want to see if you’re on the supplementary register and you’re outside of Dublin, the only way you can do so is to contact your county or city council.

2.  I’ve registered recently – do I need to register again?

Here’s the tricky part: the ‘live’ Register of Electors, the draft register, and the supplementary register are three different lists.

The live electoral register is the list of people who are registered to vote. The supplementary register is the list of those who registered to vote just before an election, which will be added to the live register after the election.

The draft register is the list of names that are to go on the new live register on 15 February each year, plus the full Register of Electors (the future 2020-2021 register).

If you registered to vote in the past 8 months (ie, since 7 May on a white and orange form) you were put on the draft register. This will not allow you to vote on 8 February because it will be before the 15 February update. 

Therefore, to vote in the upcoming general election, you’ll need to request to be put on the supplementary register through filling in an RFA2 form.

The only exception to this is if a voter registered since 7 May AND voted in one of the four by-elections held in November 2019. Those voters are already on the full electoral list. 

Another option for those who have registered since 24 May 2019 and who didn’t vote in a by-election: You can also call your local authority to see if they will use the Register of Electors 2020-2021 for the upcoming election, as some in Dublin have indicated they would do.

Snippet of Supplementary form The RFA2 form: To add your name to the supplementary register. Source: Citizens Information

After the 8 February election, the supplementary register is added to the full Register of Electors, so all voters on it will be fully registered then.

As Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming explained, this issue with those on the draft register not being able to vote is “solely because of the date of the election”.

We’ve never had an election in the middle of February before, when the new register comes into effect.

To check if you’re already on the supplementary register, you can contact your city or county council.

If your details are included in the supplement to the register of electors, you don’t need to do anything else, as you will be eligible to vote.

3. Registering to vote

Register of Electors The RFA form: To register to vote. Source: Citizens Information

You can still register to vote by applying to be included in a supplement to the electoral register using Form RFA2. If you want to change your address, you use Form RFA3

You can only be included in the supplement used at an election or referendum if your local authority gets your application at least 15 days before polling day (excluding Sundays).

That means that close-of-business on 22 January is the last day you can get your name on the list.

If you want to register to vote for the first time, you need to be an Irish citizen or a British citizen and a resident of the State.

You don’t need to bring your polling card with you to the polling station to vote, you only need photo ID. For more information, visit CitizensInformation.ie.

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