It’s a topic that comes every time before an election or referendum, you may not know this yet but to register in time for next year’s referendums, you need to be registered by 1st November. But before we get into how to go about it, why should you? And why bother to go out and vote on the day when you are registered.
1.To bring it back to what we aim for in Scouting, Creating a Better World. We believe that one small act can help, whether it’s making food for the homeless, doing a cleanup, or really voting. Every vote counts, so start looking at voting in the same way you do with other deeds and you will understand the impact.
2.If our generation voted more, our politicians would start listing and working with us more. At the moment the average turnout age of voters in Ireland is 55 years old. Simple formula, we start voting more, they would invest more time in our generation.
3.Fewer people are voting, which means a few people ( *cough* look at the previous point) are on their way to being the main voice of the people of Ireland. Turn out has gone down by nearly 14% in the last 40 years and it’s continuing to drop. In 2015, only 43% of people aged 18-24 in Ireland voted, according to a survey carried out by Ipsos-MORI after the last General Election. That compares with 78% of people over 65. Think about that.
4.Democratic responsibility, I know responsibility makes it sound stern you do have a responsibility, living in a democratic state, to keep it running that way. You also have to consider the centuries of people who fought for the right to vote. Irish men first got the right in 1884, Irish women in 1922, it was 1969 before Northern Irish were able to vote in local elections. It takes less than 10 minutes every once in awhile to make the struggle they went through worth it.
5.If you are worried that you don’t know which way you want to vote or that you don’t believe in any of your options, you can leave your ballot blank. Staying at home just makes you another statistic, it is presumed you are just uninterested. By actively going to the polling station and not selecting any candidate before submitting to the ballot box, you become a voice for the disengaged. Blank Votes and Spoiled Ballots are read out at the count, along with the results and are also included in subsequent reports. You can still make a difference that way.
So like it was said before if you are over 18 and haven’t registered yet, you need to be registered by 1st November. If you aren’t 18 by November but want to be registered before the voting begins, don’t worry you can be registered before 1st February!
Registering to vote is simple, you download the form from here. If life is hard and getting to a printer is not possible then head to any local authorities, post offices and public libraries and grab a hard copy of that form to fill it in. Most have pens there too if you haven’t had a chance to grab a free one at an open day or jobs fair recently. When they are filled out, you have had a local Garda in the station stamp it, drop them back to your local authority. If you are not sure where that is, ask the Garda that stamped your form!
So, you have a week, if you aren’t registered, just get it done and have a say. If you are and haven’t voted yet, take the time to learn about the referendums coming up and have a say.