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Up to 125,000 extra voters registered for referendum

Monday, May 21, 2018 - 09:30

National Youth Council welcomes unprecedented surge of voter registration ahead of the referendum on May 25th next

Preliminary figures indicate a potential 90% increase compared to marriage equality referendum

The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) - which represents organisations working with over 380,000 young people nationwide - has welcomed the unprecedented surge of voter registration ahead of the referendum on May 25th.

The returns received by NYCI from 14 city and county councils (both urban and rural) to date, if replicated in all 31 city and county councils, would indicate that up to 125,000* people were added to the supplementary electoral register between February and the recent May 8th deadline.

In May 2015, 65,911 voters were added to the supplementary register in advance of the marriage equality referendum, following an intensive voter registration campaign . To date, the returns from 14 of the 31 councils indicate that 56,961 voters have been added to the supplementary register, with numbers on average up over 90% on those recorded in 2015, explained James Doorley, NYCI Deputy Director: “For example the numbers registering in Meath (123%), Kerry, (112%), South Dublin (103%) and Westmeath (103%) are up over 100% on 2015. Other counties such as Galway, (97%) Tipperary, (92%), Kilkenny (86%) are also recording a much increased level of registration. The lowest percentage increases to date are from Dublin and Cork Cities with an increase of 38% and 37% respectively but this still represents in Dublin City alone an increase of over 5,400 voters compared to those included in the supplementary register in 2015. (19,805 in 2018 compared to 14,362 in 2015). Leitrim stands out as a result of an 213% increase in voters included in the supplementary register with 670 additional voters in 2018 compared to 214 in 2015.

Response of young people to registration drives
In April the NYCI had expressed concerns that 22% of young people may not have been registered to vote, based on the results of a RedC poll which it commissioned in 2017.** However, Mr Doorley said: “We know that a lot of work was done by a range of organisations in late 2017 and many thousands of eligible voters were added to the electoral register. It is really heartening that so many young people responded to the call by NYCI and others and took the opportunity to register at events organised by the USI, ISSU, SpunOut, individual student unions, youth organisations and community groups in recent weeks to ensure they had the right to vote in the upcoming referendum,” said Mr Doorley.


“It is important to note that not all those added to this latest supplement to the register are young voters,” added Mr Doorley. “Some undoubtedly are not in the 18 to 29 age bracket, or are electors changing the location of their vote. However, the indications we received from a number of county councils suggest that a high percentage of those registered are new or young voters.”

The NYCI also acknowledged the efforts of the staff in the 31 city and county councils “who supported the registration process and have completed the supplementary register despite the unprecedented surge of new voters.”

Information for first time voters
The organisation is providing information for young or first-time voters who may have questions following the registration process and in advance of May 25th on the voting process, at

High youth turnout
“We are confident that this extraordinary level of youth voter registration will be matched by a high level of youth voter turnout. In that regard, NYCI would encourage all young voters to use their democratic right on Friday next and have their say on the important constitutional question being put before the people,” concluded Mr Doorley.


For further information, please contact Daniel Meister, Communications Manager at NYCI on 01 425 5955 or 087 781 4903 or email

The full list of supplementary register returns which have been provided to NYCI are available below.

* The 125,000 figure is based on an average over 90% increase in registrations in the returns received from 14 city and county councils compared to 2015 when 65,916 voters were added to the supplementary register nationwide.

**RedC Poll: 404 interviews were conducted online using Red C’s online panel Red C Live among those aged 18-29 years. Interviewing was conducted during 15th-23rd February 2017. The margin of error in the results is +/- 4.9%.
The poll found that 22% of those aged 18-29 were not registered to vote. Based on the most recent population data from the Central Statistics Office this would have meant up to 151,000 young people in the state risked not being registered.

National Youth Council of Ireland
The National Youth Council of Ireland is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests of voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.

List of data for 14 counties available at this google doc link: