Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Select Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government

Electoral Reform Bill 2022: Committee Stage

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I move amendment No. 30:

In page 28, between lines 4 and 5, to insert the following: “(4) Where the participation of an elector in an election or referendum is facilitated through their inclusion on the special voters list in the case of an illness or disability under section 17 of the Act of 1992, or under section 103 of the Act of 1992 as a result of an inability to vote without assistance, the Commission shall ensure that the elector may avail equally of such facilities or support as may be provided in the official language of their choice.”.

One of the issues that came up during the course of pre-legislative scrutiny and the Second Stage debate was the need to ensure that we facilitate people to vote by way of proxy or other mechanisms where there are legitimate reasons for them otherwise being unable to vote. This particular amendment speaks to issues around illness or disability. Obviously electoral turnout is a big issue and there was quite a lot of discussion about ensuring the maximum level of electoral participation. Clearly if people want to vote but cannot do so for very legitimate reasons, under terms that would be prescribed by the commission and by legislation, then we should move towards the system that many other European jurisdictions have, which is a far less restrictive approach, particularly to postal proxy voting, in this case because of disability or illness. Later on we will look at other areas like people being abroad for holidays or work and so on. Again, a little like my colleague's amendments, if this is something that the Minister of State is willing to take away and look at with his officials and return to on Report Stage, that would be acceptable to us. Otherwise, I will be pressing the amendment.


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