We talk a lot about visibility in the Bi+ community, but there’s only one way to be visible in the ballot box, and that’s to register to vote and to make it to the polls.
There are several elections planned for 2018 in Ireland (four referenda, including one on the 8th Amendment, and the Presidential election) so it is particularly timely for Irish citizens resident in Ireland who are over 18 or will be on or before the 15th of February 2018, to register.
Registering to Vote
If you register before the 1st of November 2017 you should be included in the Draft Register of Electors 2018/2019 which will be published on that date.
Even if you are already registered to vote, you should check that draft register when it comes out, as people are sometimes removed in error.
You will be able to apply to change your details in the draft (including adding yourself if you were not included) until Friday the 24th of November 2017. The Register will be published on the 15th of February.
If you change address, or if you did not manage to register by the 24th of November, you can join the Supplementary Register at any time up to 14 working days before an election, including if you are not yet 18 but will be when an election takes place.
Who can Vote
Since the upcoming elections are all constitutional referenda and a Presidential election, it’s worth noting that only Irish citizens who are resident in the Republic of Ireland are eligible to vote in these elections—other residents can vote in different types of government election depending on their citizenship, but only citizens have a say on the constitution or the presidency.
If you were born anywhere in Ireland, including Northern Ireland, you have an automatic claim to Irish citizenship and can tick “Irish” when registering to vote. Likewise, if you have a parent who was both an Irish citizen and born in Ireland.
If you have either a parent who was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth but who was not born in Ireland, or if one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, then you can apply for citizenship through Foreign Birth Registration. This can take up to six months.
If you previously registered to vote under another citizenship you should use from RFA2 to change your registration to note that you are Irish. It may be wise to contact your local authority.
Otherwise becoming an Irish citizen requires that you become one through naturalisation, and then use form RFA5 to have your electoral registration reflect this change in citizenship.
If claiming Irish citizenship, note that Ireland allows dual or multiple citizenship with any other country and does not require that you renounce your other citizenship(s). Not all countries allow this from their side though, so check the rules of the citizenship(s) you already have.
You cannot vote if you live abroad with two exceptions: