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Matthews Welcomes Ground-Breaking Electoral Reform Bill

Deputy Steven Matthews, Green TD for Wicklow, has expressed his support for the Electoral Reform Bill 2022, which seeks to establish a new Electoral Commission and introduce a wide range of changes to increase citizen participation in political processes in Ireland.

“As Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage, I have had the privilege of scrutinising the Electoral Reform Bill and contributing to its development as it has progressed through the different stages in the Dáil. This is a ground-breaking piece of legislation which aims to strengthen and modernise our democratic institutions and ensure widespread public participation in elections and referendums in the State.

The main provisions of the Electoral Reform Bill include:

  • A new and independent Electoral Commission that will regulate electoral activities and provide information to citizens on referendums and electoral processes.

  • Pre-registration to vote for 16- and 17-year-olds.

  • Arrangements to enable those with no fixed address to vote.

  • Anonymous voter registration for those whose safety may be at risk if their names were published in the Electoral Register.

  • Postal voting for those who cannot attend a polling booth due to mental health difficulties.

  • Strict regulation of online political advertising to ensure transparency during elections.

  • Arrangements to hold elections during pandemics.

  • A research, advisory and education role for the Electoral Commission.

  • Explicit powers for the Electoral Commission to monitor and investigate disinformation, misinformation and manipulative/inauthentic behaviour during elections and referendums.

“In the pre-legislative scrutiny of this Bill, the Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage consulted with many different stakeholders including experts in political reform and NGOs such as the National Women’s Council of Ireland, the National Youth Council of Ireland and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. This Bill was urgently needed, and I am delighted that it has passed all stages in the Dáil.

“The reforms will empower citizens to exercise their democratic rights and promote the participation of women, young people, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities in politics. If there are any questions about the Electoral Reform Bill, I would encourage those who are interested to email me and I would be more than happy to discuss them”, Deputy Matthews concluded.



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