An online voter registration system to make voting more user friendly is being proposed by the Government.
The new register would be anonymous and people would be identified only by a number in order to protect victims of domestic violence and stalking.
“If somebody has a barring order for domestic violence against their husband or wife, we don’t want the electoral register to be accessible when it is a public document, that somebody can go on — or a stalker —and see where their potential victims are living,” said minister of state for local government and electoral reform, John Paul Phelan.
The public is now being asked for their views on the changes, which would see a reduction in the number of different registration forms and would allow people to register online.
The proposals also include the introduction of a simplified registration process, a move from household-based to individual registration and verification of identity through the possible use of Personal Public Service Numbers (PPSN).
Mr Phelan said: “These changes, if implemented, would be the most significant reform of the electoral registration process since 1918. As well as removing an excessive number of steps involved in applying to be included on the electoral register, the proposals would further increase the register’s ability to keep up-to-date with changing individual circumstances and, therefore, its integrity.
“Having a registration process that recognises and facilitates more frequent changes of address is crucial in maintaining an accurate register.”
The proposals include:
The introduction of a single, simplified form rather than the 26 that currently are in use.
Rolling registration, which would see the current supplementary register axed and a single, live register introduced.
Individual registration only — currently the use of household forms could potentially result in people being included on the register or their registration details being amended without their explicit consent.
The establishment of a single, national electoral register database.
Mr Phelan urged people to give their view on the proposals by March 15, 2019.