SpunOut.ie have joined three other youth organisations to call on young people across Ireland to make sure they are registered to vote for the upcoming abortion referendum before the deadline of May 8th.
SpunOut.ie has joined the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and LGBTI youth organisation BeLonGTo to urge young people aged between 18 and 25 to ensure their voices are heard in the May 25th poll by making sure they are registered.
If you are not registered by May 8th, you will not be able to vote in the upcoming referendum.
There are 460,000 young people between the ages of 18-25 eligible to vote. 122,000 young people have turned 18 since the last general election in 2016, and this upcoming referendum will be their first opportunity to cast their vote.
Young people who will be turning 18 on or before May 25th have also been reminded that they can register to vote before their birthday, so long as they will be 18 by polling day.
How do I register for the first time?
If you have never voted before or applied for the Register of Electors, you can apply for the supplementary register before May 8th. Find out how to apply for the supplementary register here.
Campus voter drives
The USI are running voter registration drives on campuses all across Ireland in partnership with local Student Unions to register as many young people as possible before May 8th. Forms will be provided and local Gardai will be on campuses to stamp completed forms.
USI President Michael Kerrigan said: “Registering to vote is now part of coming to college. First years now get a student card, and a voter registration form… We’re urging students to go onto www.checktheregister.ie and check if you’re already registered to vote. If not, call into your Students’ Union to get the RFA2 form to register to vote."
What if I have voted in the past?
Even if you have already registered and voted in elections or referendums in the past, it’s still important to check the register to make sure you haven’t been removed.
SpunOut.ie Executive Director Ian Power said: “A number of young people checking the register in the last few weeks have reported to us they have been removed since the last time they voted. This can often happen as local authorities attempt to clean the registers. We would advise everyone who wants to vote on May 25th to check the register and make sure they’re on it by the May 8th deadline.”
Make sure you’re still on the register by visiting checktheregister.ie. If you can’t find yourself, make sure to fill out the application form for the supplementary register before May 8th.
Why should I vote?
This referendum is a historic moment for Ireland. This will be the first time in 35 years that Irish people will have the opportunity to vote on making abortion more accessible in Ireland since the 8th Amendment was introduced by referendum in 1983. This is an issue that a lot of people have an opinion on, and it’s important to be registered to vote if you want to have your say.
BeLonGTo Executive Director Moninne Griffith has described this upcoming referendum as ”one of the most important human rights issues of a generation.”
James Doorley, NYCI Deputy Director said: “Despite some perceptions and commentary, official figures on recent elections indicate that voter turnout among young people is on the increase. We know from our work and the work of our 50 member organisations that young people care about the issues and want to have their say in democratic decisions. That’s why it’s so important that they make sure they are on the register by May 8th so that they can make their voices heard.”
Find out how to register to vote by visiting spunout.ie/vote