In the event of a Referendum on abortion, every vote will be vital. Are you ready if and when a vote is called?
Some may not be registered to vote, or may have moved house but not applied to change their place of voting. Registering is easy and forms for a first time voter are available at Post Offices, Garda Stations or Local Authority.
There are people already on the Register who may worry about getting to a polling station. They may be housebound through ill health, be in a hospital or nursing home. Others may be working throughout polling day. Voting law caters for such situations through Postal Voter and Special Voter status.
Postal Voting is available, on medical certification, to those housebound through illness or disability. Once approved, a ballot paper is sent to you ahead of polling day. Form PVS1 must be completed and sent to one’s City or County Council to apply for postal voter status for any referendum or election which takes place between now and 14th February 2018.
Those whose circumstances of occupation prevent attendance may be considered for a postal vote as may students registered to vote based on their home address but studying full time elsewhere in Ireland. Postal Voters for reasons other than health must complete Form PVS2. It can be lodged up to 22 days (excluding Sundays and public holidays) before a referendum. They must present their ballot documentation at a Garda Station before voting to have their identity verified. This is a little more complex but well worth the effort when we are voting for the unborn.
Those in a hospital or nursing home whose health prevents them from going out may apply for Special Voter status. They will have a ballot paper brought to them on polling day by an electoral official accompanied by a Garda. To apply for inclusion in the Special Voters List for any referendum or election between now and 14th February 2018 Form SVS1 should be completed.
A new Register of Electors comes in to force each 15th February hence applications now are for supplementary inclusion as a Postal Voter or Special Voter.
Postal or Special Voters on health grounds normally have their status carried over each year. Others will need to reapply annually. All forms can be obtained from one’s local Council or downloaded from www.checktheregister.ie. Voters no longer entitled to this status must notify the Local Authority who will reinstate their normal ballot. It is good practice to check the Draft Register (from November onwards), Postal and Special Voters are indicated by the Letter S. Let’s avail of our voting rights so that the rights of the unborn may be maintained.