Voters on Galway's inhabited islands could vote on the same day as voters on the mainland during the various elections in 2019, instead of a day ahead, as has been the traditional practice.
The State faces local elections next year, and possibly the General Election. There will also be referenda to extend voting rights to citizens living abroad; liberalising Ireland’s divorce laws; and reducing the voting age to 16.
The report by the Joint Committee on Housing, Planning, and Local Government, which examined island voting has been published. It recommends the Electoral Amendment Voting on Islands Bill 2014 should proceed to committee stage. This has been welcomed by Fianna Fáil Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív.
“This report marks a further positive step in ensuring islanders have the same rights as people living on the mainland with regard to voting times," he said. "Islanders want to vote in elections and referenda on the same day as the rest of the country, rather than having to vote ahead of time."
However Dep Ó Cuív said he had a number of concerns about other recommendations in the report, and said he plans to introduce a number of amendments when it comes before the Dáil. “A number of concerns relating to the increased use of Section 86 of the Electoral Act 1992, which allows for a shorter polling day, at the discretion of the Returning Officer, were examined by the committee," he said. "I believe this issue needs to be dealt with in the bill and I will be bringing forward an amendment to this effect.”