Donegal Councillor Jack Murray has called for a more proactive approach to ensure that young people register to vote in Ireland.
The Mayor of Inishowen has proposed an annual system where council staff would visit Donegal secondary schools to ensure Leaving Certificate students register to vote.
Cllr Murray raised a motion at the May County Council meeting to recognise the huge amount of young people who are not registered to vote.
At the beginning of May, it emerged that 4,312 eligible young people (under 25) had not yet added their names to the register for voting in the May 25th referendum. 2885 Donegal citizens had applied to the council for inclusion on the supplementary electoral register by May 8th.
“The system we have in place is archaic and it’s not working properly,” Cllr Murray said.
“I think the easiest way is to be proactive and go to schools on an annual basis.”
Cllr Murray said the system needs an upgrade:
“Checktheregister.ie causes more confusing than it actually solves. There are people of all different age groups that aren’t registered to vote, but the easiest way is to go to schools, where all the details are kept.”
Cllr Adrian Glackin added that the past two referenda have shown that young people are very politically aware.
“Young people know what they want in regards to their rights, in particular at the last referendum on Friday past, they have their own opinions.
“I think it is a great initiative to go into schools and make people politically aware,” Cllr Glackin said.
Mr Joe Peoples of the Housing, Corporate and Culture Department acknowledged the current system has potential for error and the need for centralised improvements.
“The concerns of the members are valid. I think there is a more efficient and modern way for doing things. There is a huge need to improve how this is dealt with for the benefit of everybody in the council,” he said.
Mr Peoples said the voting registration process could be significantly streamlined through technology such as online registration options. He said that this suggestion should be brought to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.Tags: