Today’s the deadline to register for postal votes

 

Voters looking for a postal vote because they’ll be working or studying away from home will need to cast their vote at a local Garda station.

THE GENERAL ELECTION may only have been called two days ago – but, already, deadline day has arrived for people wanting to register to vote by post for this month’s election.

Awkwardly, the deadline for registering for a postal vote is a mere two days after the Dáil is dissolved, or whenever the polling day for local and European elections is called – making it fiercely impractical for many to register their postal votes, especially if they’re living away from home.

As a general rule, the criteria for qualifying for a postal vote are as follows:

  • If you’re a diplomat posted abroad, or are married to one
  • If you’re a Garda, or a fulltime member of the defence forces
  • If you have a physical illness or disability
  • If you’re a full-time student and live away from your ‘home’ address
  • If your job requires you to be elsewhere on polling day
  • If you’re in prison.

The awkward thing about registering for a postal vote, though, is that the local county council which administers the register of electors in your constituency needs to receive your application today.

That, of course, is easier said than done – if you’re a student or you work away from home, the chances of being able to get a form back to your local County or City Hall is fairly slim.

However, if you think you’ll have the time – or if your council agrees to take an application over the fax – then you still have the time to arrange it.

If you’re looking to get a postal vote on the basis of a physical illness or disability, you’ll need form PV1. If you work elsewhere, or are a student, you’ll need form PV2.

In the former case, you’ll need to get the second part of the form filled out by a doctor who can certify that you’ll be unable to make it to a polling station. In the latter, there are sections to be filled out by your employer, a peace commissioner (if you’re self-employed), or your educational institution.

If you’re using form PV2, you’ll be required to bring your blank ballot paper to your local Garda station with a form of ID, and fill out your ballot paper in the station.

The best way to get any advice on the appropriate matters – and to see whether or not your local council will be willing to accept submissions via fax – is to contact the Franchise Section of your local County or City Council.

www.journal.ie03/02/11

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