Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) are now mandated to hold voter registration drives once per term, following a vote at Council this evening.
TCDSU will advertise these drives on their social media and around campus.
The motion was brought to Council by JF BESS Class Rep, Patrick Keegan and aims to allow as many students to access the relevant information that is needed.
Speaking to Trinity News before Council, Keegan said: “This is something which can provide a large benefit to both students and to the integrity of our democracy as a whole, as we need more people involved to keep politicians accountable for their policies, and it can better ensure that the outcome of elections are more representative of the views of the whole population.”
Keegan also stated: “This is a motion which everybody will hopefully vote for, as the numerous benefits that can come from this far outweigh any costs.”
Speaking at Council this evening President Gabi Fullam highlighted that voter registration drives “would entail presence of Gardaí” on campus.
The motion was amended to include registration for Seanad elections, at the suggestion of a postgraduate representative who highlighted that Trinity graduates are eligible to vote in the University of Dublin constituency for these.
There was discussion around the benefit of this motion given TCDSU traditionally runs voter registration drives in the lead up to the general elections, with one member calling it “redundant” and claiming that it did not need to be voted on.
AHSS Faculty Convenor Eoghan Gilroy criticised “nitpicking” of the motion, calling it “a great motion”, adding that while the union does regularly run voter registration drives, it would be a positive step to make this mandatory, which it is currently not.
The motion was amended at Fullam’s suggestion to refer explicitly to the TCDSU President and Citizenship Officer, to clearly delegate responsibility within the mandate.
This proposal coincides with the recent news that the voting registration process in the Republic of Ireland has been simplified. All electors can now input the relevant information into the ‘Check the Register’ website to confirm their details or to update them.
Speaking about the new registration process at the time, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan said: “I am particularly pleased that we have introduced pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds.”
“Taken together, these changes give us a more accessible, flexible, and modern system that’s simple and straightforward to use. It has never been easier for people to register to vote or update their details, so that’s what we’re encouraging everyone to do today.”
Additional reporting by Charlotte Kent, Ellen Kenny, Kate Henshaw, Aidan Cusack, David Wolfe, Shannon Connolly and Eva O’Beirne.