The establishment of an Electoral Commission is a key commitment in the Programme for Partnership Government.
My Department prepared a Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) in respect of the establishment of an Electoral Commission, which was published on 27 December 2018, and followed by a public consultation process. The RIA set out four options, having regard to a commission's legislative status and the functions that might be assigned to it. Responses to the public consultation indicated support for its establishment on a statutory basis, with a phased transfer of existing functions.
The Government approved the establishment of a statutory Electoral Commission on 17 July 2019. The Electoral Commission will bring together several electoral functions in an independent, dedicated public body. It will include a new research and advisory function, which will inform the Government and Oireachtas in their consideration of reform to electoral law.
Work on the drafting of the General Scheme of an Electoral Commission Bill is currently underway in my Department and I anticipate this to be completed by the end of 2019.