USI urges students to register to vote before November 25

President Lorna Fitzpatrick argued that “all citizens should have the right to vote in Seanad Elections”.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) issued a statement on November 16 encouraging students to register to vote before November 25. 

The USI advised students to download voter registration forms online and post them to their local office in place of yearly on-campus voter registration drives, which could not go ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

The statement emphasised that “it is still extremely important that students ensure they get on the register.”

USI president Lorna Fitzpatrick said, “Elections can happen any time and we want to ensure that as many people as possible can vote when the time comes”.

As of now, only those living in Dublin can register to vote online, while those in other parts of the country will have to download an online form and post it to their local county or city council in order to register.

The USI is calling for a reform of the registration process, asking for online registration to be available throughout the entire country. 

Lorna Fitzpatrick asserted that “We can do almost everything online now and registering to vote should be no different. We should be making it easy for people to register and encouraging them to use their vote”.

As well as this, the USI is appealing for the right to vote to be extended to those aged 16 and above. As of now, the minimum voting age is 18. 

The USI also proposed that registered Irish voters living abroad should be able to vote from the countries they reside in, through Irish embassies or consulates. 115 nations currently facilitate voting in this way. 

The statement was closed with a quote from Lorna Fitzpatrick that read: “We welcome Senator Malcolm Byrne’s Universities Bill to expand voting rights to graduates of all Higher Education Institutions as a step forward, but we believe the system of graduate voting remains elitist and should be removed. All citizens should have the right to vote in Seanad Elections”. 

Bonnie Gill

Bonnie Gill is current News Analysis Editor for Trinity News and previously served as the College Correspondent. She is a Senior Sophister Film Studies and English Literature student.