Data Protection Commissioner
Data Protection Commissioner

22/11/06 - Electoral Register & 'Opting Out' of the Edited Register Press

Background: Each year, the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government encourages people to register to vote or to check their details are correct and up to date on the electoral register. The draft electoral register is published every year on 1st November. If individuals wish to register to vote or amend their details on the register (e.g. change of address) they must do so by 9th December. The final register will be published on 1st February and comes into force for a year on 15th February each year.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner wishes to draw your attention to the Edited Electoral Register.

What is the Edited Register?

Since 2004, registration authorities are required to publish two versions of the Electoral Register – the 'Full' register and the 'Edited' register. The full register lists everyone who is entitled to vote and can only be used for an electoral or other statutory purpose. The Edited Register contains the names and addresses of persons whose details can be used for a purpose other than an electoral or other statutory purpose, e.g. for direct marketing use by a commercial or other organisation.

Key Message from the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner:

Now is an opportune time for you as a citizen to think about your privacy rights. If you are irritated by unsolicited mail received through your letter box that is personally addressed to you, you can exercise your right to 'opt-out' from being included on the Edited Register. Bear in mind however, that not all unsolicited mail derives from the Edited Register. The Edited Register has only been in force since 2004 and therefore only a small percentage of the population are currently listed on the register. However, this figure will undoubtedly grow each year if people registering to vote or people updating their details do not actively 'opt'-out' of the Edited Register.

How do I check my details are correct on the register?

The draft register is published on 1st November each year by city and county councils and is made available for examination online and at post offices, public libraries, Garda stations, courthouses and council offices up to 9th December. To ensure that you are correctly registered you should check the draft register during this period every year.

Electoral Registers:

You can check if you are on the Electoral Register by accessing http://www.checktheregister.ie

If my details are incorrect or I am not listed as registered to vote what do I do?:

Any errors or omissions in the draft register should be brought to the attention of your city or county council immediately. This should be done by completing Form RFA1 - download here -  and returning it to your city or county council before 9th December.

How do I 'opt out' from the Edited Register?

You can express a preference not to be included on the Edited Register by ticking the "opt out" box on the RFA form. The choice is yours. The Register of Electors is updated annually and you must reiterate your preference with regard to inclusion on the Edited Register each time you change your details e.g notify a change of address.

The deadline for making changes to the Electoral Register is December 9th.

I am not listed on the Edited Register, but I still receive a large amount of unsolicited mail in the post?

Please see our Consumer Guide to Dealing with Unsolicited Direct Marketing