Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (310)

Patricia Ryan

Question:

310. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will establish a single electoral commission to oversee the compilation and maintenance of the electoral register; if the voter registration process will be simplified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8696/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Programme for Government - Our Shared Future commits to the establishment of an Electoral Commission and the completion of a modernisation process for voter registration.

Work on both of these reforms is in underway and they are provided for in the general scheme of the Electoral Reform Bill, which was approved by the Government in December 2020. The general scheme provides for the establishment of a statutory, independent electoral commission, which will have an oversight role in relation to the electoral register.

The modernisation of the electoral registration process will involve a series of reforms including the introduction of rolling (continuously updated) registration; the simplification of forms and processes; the gradual roll-out of an online option for registration; a single, national electoral register database; and a move to a system of identity data verification using PPSNs. Other changes include enabling pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds; provision for anonymous registration in certain specific circumstances and the abolition of the edited register. Together, these reforms will simplify and streamline the process of registration, making it easier for people to register to vote and update their details.

The general scheme of the Electoral Reform Bill was circulated to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage and is currently undergoing pre-legislative scrutiny.