Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Questions (517)

Frank O'Rourke


517. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if consideration has been given to the establishment of an online voter registration system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40983/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Arising from a commitment in the May 2016 Programme for a Partnership Government to examine the voter registration process, a set of policy proposals was developed, based on the 2016 Report of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Proposed Electoral Commission. The proposals include the provision of online registration as an optional alternative to paper-based registration, as well as: the introduction of a simplified registration process; a move to a rolling register; a reduction in the number of application forms; and the move from household-based to individual registration. Verification of identity through the possible use of Personal Public Service Numbers (PPSNs) is also proposed.

I launched the public consultation phase of the modernisation project in December 2018 and it ran until 15 March 2019. A total of 187 submissions were received from individuals, public representatives, local authorities, political parties and community and voluntary and social organisations. All responses are available on my Department's website and I intend to publish a report on the public consultation very shortly.

The responses to the consultation are informing ongoing work in my Department on various elements of the project, including the provision of an optional online registration facility with secure self-service, and the development of a draft General Scheme of an Electoral (Amendment) Bill. The outcome of the pilot of the voter.ie platform by the Dublin Local Authorities during recent polls, which provided the option of online registration and amendment of details for those with a MyGovID, is also being considered in the context of the wider modernisation project.