A coalition of youth groups consisting of the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and SpunOut.ie are calling on young people to make sure that they are registered to vote in the upcoming local, European and by-elections.
"With the deadline for inclusion on the supplementary register of electors just 5 days away (May 6th), it is essential that young people move to ensure they are eligible to cast a ballot on May 23rd," said James Doorley, NYCI Deputy Director.
Large numbers of young people across the country are registered and using their vote. The 2011 general election saw an increase of 12% in voter turnout for young people on the previous general election, according to the CSO Quarterly Household Survey.
"However, approximately 50,000 young people turn 18 every year in Ireland and they need to get registered so their voice can be heard in these elections," continued Mr Doorley.
Not being on the register is a key reason why some young people don’t vote, with many unaware that they have to register. A previous NYCI study found that 26% of 18-25 year olds were not registered to vote, rising to 36% among 18-21 year olds. Many young people lose out on the opportunity to cast their ballot because they are studying or working away from home, unaware they can change their polling station to one near their college, university or workplace.
A quick and easy ‘how-to’ guide with information on how to register to vote or change your vote to a new address, is available on www.spunout.ie/vote.
Denise McCarthy, Deputy President/VP for Welfare, USI said:
"Getting registered to vote is an imperative step for any young person who wants their voice to be heard. We urge people to get registered, get informed and use their voices to make a difference to the important issues facing us all today."
James Doorley, Deputy Director of the NYCI said:
“It’s vital that young people go out and vote as it’s one of the best means by which to get politicians and political parties to engage with issues such as youth unemployment, the cost of living, mental health services and many others that impact on the daily lives of young people. We also call on candidates to communicate with young voters and outline what they plan to do to address the concerns and needs of young people.”
Finally, the groups are also proposing the establishment of a National Voter Registration Day. Each year, thousands of potential voters miss the deadline for inclusion on the full and supplementary registers of electors. A National Voter Registration Day has been proven to be successful in many other jurisdictions around the world and could have a significant impact on the numbers turning out to vote in Ireland.
National Voter Registration Day
Ian Power, Director of SpunOut.ie said:
“Voter Registration Days have had success in other countries where thousands of additional voters have been registered. A day with a single call-to-action for potential voters would bring government and civil society partners together to ensure that those who have never voted before are engaged and empowered to use their vote.”
– ENDS –
Daniel Meister (NYCI Communications Manager)
087 781 4903 or 01 425 5955 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian Power (Director, SpunOut.ie) 083 148 4527
Denise McCarthy (Deputy President/VP for Welfare, USI) 087 299 1265
Notes to Editors:
National Youth Council of Ireland
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) 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.
 e.g. A recent voter registration day in the UK registered approx. 35,000 new voters in February 2014 http://bitetheballot.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/NVRDReport2014FINAL.pdf
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