As well all know, the big day is drawing close and campaigning is obviously intensifying. However, what good is campaigning and promising to vote yes if you’re actually not able to vote at all?
What many people don’t realise, or forget to realise is that you’re not automatically placed on the register of electors just because you turned eighteen. Occasionally people do appear on the register without having applied, but that is completely down to chance. In order to ensure you can vote at the upcoming referendum, here is a step-by-step guide on how to register to vote.
1. Check if your details are on the register
Your first port of call has to be www.checktheregister.ie in the event that you are one of the few lucky ones that has been automatically added to the register. On the homepage you simply select your province and your county council from the drop-down lists, click submit and away you go.
On the next page you will be asked to fill in your details to see if you are registered correctly. Fill those in, click submit and off we go to the next page. If you are then greeted with “Your Details could not be found.”, fear not. This just means your luck has run dry and you’ll have to go about registering the old-fashioned way. Hot dang it, Miley.
2. Print off a form
On that very page that told you your details could not be found, you will find a blue link to a form. Do not use this form, it is from the 2006/2007 register.
Instead, go back to www.checktheregister.ie and on that page there is a tab that reads “Application forms”. Having clicked on that tab, four different types of forms will appear on screen. The one you want to print of is on the far right, RFA2. Below it reads, “Application for inclusion in the Supplement to the 2015/2016 Register of Electors” – this is the one you want.
*Sidenote: For those of you wondering why I didn’t tell you to download the form entitled “Not Registered”, let me explain. The deadline to submit forms for the Live Register was back in November. However when there are upcoming referendums or elections, people that did not register in November but want to vote are placed on a supplementary register (basically a temporary register). You will then be added to the Live Register for the following year. Comprende?
3. Fill in the form and send it off
In order to fill in the entire form you will have to (unfortunately) traipse the whole way into your local Garda station to get the form stamped. On the bright side (kind of) many of you will have just turned eighteen and may not have ordered an Age Card yet. Two birds one stone, eh?
Once you have the form filled out and stamped, all that’s left to do is post it to your local county council offices. They will do the rest.
4. Do not panic
Which is exactly what I did when my details still weren’t appearing online. It was only today when I actually bothered to ring the county council that I found out that if you are on the supplementary register (which I am), your details do not appear on the website. It is only the people who are on the Live Register whose details will come up. Phew.
5. Better to be safe than sorry
Even if you’ve followed each of those steps immaculately, I would still advise ringing your council offices to make sure they got your application. It literally takes two minutes for them to confirm and then the worrying is over.
6. Get the fuck out there and vote
After all the effort it took to actually read my damn post and to get on the damn register, PLEASE don’t forget to vote. Yes, most of us will be finished college and yes we will be so sick of hearing about this bloody referendum, but please do get down to the polling stations and make a difference. Every single vote counts now more than ever.