The Electoral Register in Ireland

In order to vote in Ireland, you must be registered on the Register of Electors which is a list of voters compiled by every local authority for its area. This register is available in all local authority offices, post offices, Garda stations and public libraries. You can also use checktheregister.ie to check to see if you are on the Electoral Register.

How do I register?

The published Register of Electors contains the name, address, polling station and category of voter. If you would like to be included in the Register of Electors you must complete application form RFA and return it to your local authority. When the Register is being compiled, the application form is available to download at checktheregister.ie. You can also get the form from the local authority.

To be eligible to be included in the Register of Electors, you must:

Be at least 18 years old on the day the Register comes into force (15 February)

Have been ordinarily resident in the State on 1 September in the year before the Register comes into force

What if my name is not on the Register?

If your name is not on the Register of Electors in February, you can apply to be included in a supplement to it, using Form RFA2. You can apply at any time but you can only be included in the supplement used at an election or referendum if your local authority receives your application at least 15 days before polling day.

Who can vote in elections and referendums?

The type of election you can vote in depends on your citizenship. The following people are eligible to vote:

  • Irish citizens can vote in every election and referendum
  • British citizens may vote at Dáil, European and local elections
  • Other EU citizens may vote at European and local elections*
  • Non-EU citizens can vote at local elections only.

How does the voting system work?

In Ireland, all elections are decided through the proportional representation with a single transferable vote (PR-STV) system. It is quite a unique system with only Ireland and Malta using it.

In order to vote for a candidate, you simply indicate your preference by putting the relevant number on the box beside their name e.g. If you would like to give your first choice to Candidate A then you write ‘1’ in the box beside their name. If you would like to give your second preference to Candidate B, then you write ‘2’ in the box opposite their name and so on down through the list of candidates. You can number all candidates or just stop at one – the choice is yours.

If you do give 2nd, 3rd, 4th preferences, then you are instructing that your vote be transferred to your second preference if your first choice is either elected with a surplus of votes over the quota or is eliminated.

If your second choice is elected or eliminated, your vote may be transferred to your third choice, and so on.

So your one vote can go a long way!

For further information and a full explanation: https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/migrated-files/en/Publications/LocalGovernment/Voting/FileDownLoad,1895,en.pdf

Why should I vote?

Voting is the main way by which you can have your voice heard on issues that impact you. Voting allows you to be part of decision-making that impacts on you, your family and your community. And remember, every vote counts! If you don’t vote, those who do will make those decisions for you.

You may not think your one vote can make a difference but in 2002, Fine Gael T.D. Dan Neville, won the last of three seats in Limerick West by just one vote!

See https://www.vote.ie for more information.