The Government previously decided that work should commence on modernisation of the voter registration process in the context of the possible need to register voters resident outside the State in the event that a proposed referendum on extending the franchise for Presidential elections is passed.
The project will include consideration of wider policy and legislative changes, including initiatives such as online registration. It is expected that the online facility will enable individuals to manage their own information, such as amending their address details. There is an initial focus on a series of proposals made by the Joint Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht in its report on the consultation it carried out on the proposed Electoral Commission in 2016.
In addition, a pilot project called Voter.ie took place in the four Dublin local areas prior to the recent local and European elections. This involved a new online web portal enabling over 1 million Dublin residents to check their electoral details in real-time. Voters who are signed up to MyGovID were able to check if they were eligible to vote and amend some of their electoral details on the register in real-time (prior to the cut-off date for registration for an election or referendum).
Following an initial consultation with franchise electoral registration teams in local authorities, which was completed in September 2018, a public consultation on the modernisation process was launched on 17 December 2018 and closed on 15 March 2019. A total of 187 submissions were received from a range of individuals, public representatives, local authorities, political parties and community and voluntary and business organisations. These submissions are now being examined and details of the consultation are available on my Department's website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/public-consultation-proposals-modernise-electoral-registration-process.
Following the consideration of all submissions received during the public consultation and a review with the Dublin local authorities of the voter.ie portal's impact on register management in Dublin during the recent polls, my Department will progress a national project to modernise the registration process. It is expected that this project, which will include the procurement of an IT system and primary legislation, will take approximately two years to complete.