Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on hello@boards.ie for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact hello@boards.ie

Electoral Register could damage referendum integrity

Options
  • 23-05-2018 10:22am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 564 ✭✭✭


    So through strange occurrences I have a polling card even though I have not lived in Ireland in 7 years. I will be in Ireland on the day of the referendum. Strictly speaking I am ineligible to vote as I left Ireland over 18 months ago however I am sure with the Polling card and driving license I could rock up to the polling station and vote with ease.

    The temptation to vote is killing me and I would love to vote on this issue but I don't want to for two reasons:
    1. It damanges the integrity of the referendum
    2. I fear there will be investigations if this referendum goes to the wire

    Anybody else in the same situation?


«134

Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,623 ✭✭✭thegreatgonzo


    I'm not but i have heard worrying reports about a number of students in Galway who arent citizens receiving polling cards. It was on keith finnegan on galway bay fm and harry mcgee also covered it in the Irish Times. I'm on my phone so I can't post a link. I'm very concerned about it because there is no clarity as to where the mistake was made and if it confined to just one local authority.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,932 ✭✭✭✭listermint


    So through strange occurrences I have a polling card even though I have not lived in Ireland in 7 years. I will be in Ireland on the day of the referendum. Strictly speaking I am ineligible to vote as I left Ireland over 18 months ago however I am sure with the Polling card and driving license I could rock up to the polling station and vote with ease.

    The temptation to vote is killing me and I would love to vote on this issue but I don't want to for two reasons:
    1. It damanges the integrity of the referendum
    2. I fear there will be investigations if this referendum goes to the wire

    Anybody else in the same situation?

    you do know 18 months is not 7 years.


    Right....


    Just for clarifications sake.



    I see the excuses are coming out early.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,571 ✭✭✭Red_Wake


    I'm not but i have heard worrying reports about a number of students in Galway who arent citizens receiving polling cards. It was on keith finnegan on galway bay fm and harry mcgee also covered it in the Irish Times. I'm on my phone so I can't post a link. I'm very concerned about it because there is no clarity as to where the mistake was made and if it confined to just one local authority.
    I'd be interested to hear more about this.

    The electoral integrity aspect is very fair. We hear a lot of stories about people coming home to vote, but little about the fact that a significant portion aren't legally entitled to vote, and that the bureaucracy is allowing this.

    While I don't particularly care about this referendum, I'm not comfortable with allowing government mistakes giving voting rights to people who are visitors in the country rather than residents. Future referendums on issues I do actually care about could be swung by people who'll jet off and not have to live with the consequences.


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,269 Mod ✭✭✭✭Chips Lovell


    The electoral register is never going to be 100% accurate, simply because the people maintaining it aren't omniscient and are relying on a.) people being honest in stating who is resident at a certain address when they're periodically updating it and b.) people who move notifying them of that fact.

    All they can do is ensure that it is as accurate as they can make it and keep errors to a minimum. Of course, if someone finds themselves on the register when they shouldn't be, it's incumbent on them not to abuse that.


  • Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 28,803 Mod ✭✭✭✭oscarBravo


    The electoral register is never going to be 100% accurate, simply because the people maintaining it aren't omniscient and are relying on a.) people being honest in stating who is resident at a certain address when they're periodically updating it and b.) people who move notifying them of that fact.

    All they can do is ensure that it is as accurate as they can make it and keep errors to a minimum. Of course, if someone finds themselves on the register when they shouldn't be, it's incumbent on them not to abuse that.

    Alternatively, we could get over our quaint mistrust of authority and implement something like Denmark does, where it's a legal requirement to keep the government informed of where you live. Denmark doesn't have a periodic census; it doesn't need one. It also doesn't need a piecemeal process to try to keep an electoral register updated.

    But we won't. We'll continue to subscribe to our gut instinct to tell the government as little as possible, and then grumble when the government can't keep track of us.


  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,269 Mod ✭✭✭✭Chips Lovell


    Given the outcry about the Public Services card, it's hard to see that happen.

    No system is perfect though. Even if it was mandatory to register your address with the authorities, you'll still get some people who won't.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,475 ✭✭✭denismc


    I receive 2 polling cards for 2 previous address, while I use neither I could abuse the system and vote twice.
    I'd bet there other people in similar situations, the register seems to be badly maintained and open to abuse.
    Your polling card should be linked to your PPS number to avoid duplication.


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,455 ✭✭✭✭looksee


    A polling card arrived for my husband, he died three years ago. I have an idea I reported this fact, but anyway, a card came. Wouldn't it be very obvious that the issue of a death certificate should be cross-referenced with the voting register though?

    I have been voting (in my innocence) in all elections and referenda since I came to Ireland over 45 years ago and was put on the register - I don't recall how, but no-one queried my status (I am a brit), if I thought anything about it I assumed marriage to an Irishman gave me that voting right. I only relatively recently - within the last few years - realised that this might not be the case. I have dealt with the good and the bad of living in Ireland for over 4 decades and I reckon I have by now earned a right to have a say.

    With all the computerised data, pps numbers, census returns and online voting register etc, isn't it time the whole thing was tidied up?


  • Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 28,803 Mod ✭✭✭✭oscarBravo


    Given the outcry about the Public Services card, it's hard to see that happen.
    Exactly. But we can't (as a society) refuse to give the government information, and then bitch about the government not having our information.
    No system is perfect though. Even if it was mandatory to register your address with the authorities, you'll still get some people who won't.
    It depends just how serious the authorities are about requiring you to register. For example, if you don't register your change of address, you can't have post delivered to your new address, because that's how the Danish postal service knows who lives where.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 168 ✭✭dublinbuster


    Yes campaign getting worried?
    Getting in excuses for loosing early?


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭crossman47


    denismc wrote: »
    I receive 2 polling cards for 2 previous address, while I use neither I could abuse the system and vote twice.
    I'd bet there other people in similar situations, the register seems to be badly maintained and open to abuse.
    Your polling card should be linked to your PPS number to avoid duplication.

    Have you let the relevant local authority know you are no longer at those addresses?


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,511 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    oscarBravo wrote: »
    Exactly. But we can't (as a society) refuse to give the government information, and then bitch about the government not having our information. It depends just how serious the authorities are about requiring you to register. For example, if you don't register your change of address, you can't have post delivered to your new address, because that's how the Danish postal service knows who lives where.
    You mean the Danish post offices scrutinises every letter it handles to check that the adressee is registered as living at the address on the envolope and, if not, returns the letter to sender?

    That must add considerable cost and delay to the postal process in Denmark!


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,502 ✭✭✭✭Cookie_Monster


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    You mean the Danish post offices scrutinises every letter it handles to check that the adressee is registered as living at the address on the envolope and, if not, returns the letter to sender?

    That must add considerable cost and delay to the postal process in Denmark!

    why would it cause delay?, every letter will be machine read these days, couple of micro seconds to confirm with the database while being done is hardly a delay


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,511 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Letters are machine-read for the address, not for the name. In fact, mostly the machine is mainly trying to discern the postcode. And, even then, a large proportion have to be diverted for manual handling because the machine can't cope with the handwriting.

    Plus, lots of people have nicknames, informal names, abbreviations, etc so that even if the machine can successfully read the handwriting, it may diagnose a mismatch with the register where a human wouldn't.

    And, above all, what is the point of all this? If my cousin from the US is staying with me for a few weeks, what public policy is served by intercepting mail sent to him at my house and returning it to sender?

    I'm sceptical that the Danes do this but, if they do, I think it's a pretty textbook example of a Bad Idea.


  • Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 28,803 Mod ✭✭✭✭oscarBravo


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    You mean the Danish post offices scrutinises every letter it handles to check that the adressee is registered as living at the address on the envolope and, if not, returns the letter to sender?

    No, that's not what I mean. It's a much bigger picture than that. Let me try to explain.

    My Danish other half occasionally gets post from her alma mater in Aarhus delivered to her here in Ireland. She has never informed the university when she changed address - whether in the US, the UK, or in Ireland - but they can still write to her, because she has notified the Danish government of her address each time she has moved.

    When you move home in Denmark, you have to tell the government. It's a legal requirement. If you don't tell the government your new address, the post from your doctor will go to your old address, from where it will be returned to sender, because your name isn't printed on the mailbox anymore. You won't be able to get the electricity in your new house billed to you, because that's not your address.

    If you don't register your change of address, the government won't know what property you're supposed to be paying property taxes on. The municipality won't know who to charge for water. It's the sort of society where you don't just get to decide not to bother following the rules, because it's the sort of society that's designed to only function correctly when people follow the rules.

    I guess I could ask a Danish person what would happen if they didn't inform the government of a change of address, but I can speculate as to their response: blank puzzlement; why wouldn't you do that?



    Every single election, every single referendum, we have the same conversation about how the electoral register is a mess. Every time, I see the same fifteen threads pop up in the week before the vote, asking about missing polling cards and deleted registrations and duplicate entries.

    They don't have those conversations in Denmark. They know where people live, and they know who can and can't vote. There's a lot to be said for it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭crossman47


    oscarBravo wrote: »
    No, that's not what I mean. It's a much bigger picture than that. Let me try to explain.

    My Danish other half occasionally gets post from her alma mater in Aarhus delivered to her here in Ireland. She has never informed the university when she changed address - whether in the US, the UK, or in Ireland - but they can still write to her, because she has notified the Danish government of her address each time she has moved.

    When you move home in Denmark, you have to tell the government. It's a legal requirement. If you don't tell the government your new address, the post from your doctor will go to your old address, from where it will be returned to sender, because your name isn't printed on the mailbox anymore. You won't be able to get the electricity in your new house billed to you, because that's not your address.

    If you don't register your change of address, the government won't know what property you're supposed to be paying property taxes on. The municipality won't know who to charge for water. It's the sort of society where you don't just get to decide not to bother following the rules, because it's the sort of society that's designed to only function correctly when people follow the rules.

    I guess I could ask a Danish person what would happen if they didn't inform the government of a change of address, but I can speculate as to their response: blank puzzlement; why wouldn't you do that?



    Every single election, every single referendum, we have the same conversation about how the electoral register is a mess. Every time, I see the same fifteen threads pop up in the week before the vote, asking about missing polling cards and deleted registrations and duplicate entries.

    They don't have those conversations in Denmark. They know where people live, and they know who can and can't vote. There's a lot to be said for it.

    It sounds like a brilliant system but it will never happen here because the civil liberties campaigners will jump up and down with rage about big brother. In general we are still in "agin the government" mode - a relic of our past.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,511 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Well, there is a real civil liberties issue. If you have a complete register of where everybody lives, linked with other government records like immigration, drivers licenses, births deaths and marriages, etc, that gives the state an extraordinary degree of insight into private lives. Want a list of all the Arab men who live in such-and-such a neighbourhood with local women who are not their wives, plus their photgraphs, and details of the cars that each of them drives? Here you go! Oh, look, this one is HIV-positive. I wonder has he told his girlfriend?

    I'm not seeing any compelling argument as to why the state should be given that degree of insight into my life.


  • Registered Users Posts: 82,828 ✭✭✭✭Overheal


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Well, there is a real civil liberties issue. If you have a complete register of where everybody lives, linked with other government records like immigration, drivers licenses, births deaths and marriages, etc, that gives the state an extraordinary degree of insight into private lives. Want a list of all the Arab men who live in such-and-such a neighbourhood with local women who are not their wives, plus their photgraphs, and details of the cars that each of them drives? Here you go! Oh, look, this one is HIV-positive. I wonder has he told his girlfriend?

    I'm not seeing any compelling argument as to why the state should be given that degree of insight into my life.
    But, surely the state already knows each persons immigration status, license number, passport number, and their birth certificates marriage licenses, your home address, etc?

    I don’t see how that constitutes an extraordinary violation of privacy?

    The government wouldn’t have access like that to medical records though.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,511 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Overheal wrote: »
    But, surely the state already knows each persons immigration status, license number, passport number, and their birth certificates marriage licenses, your home address, etc?
    The government doesn't know your home address. At least, not systematically. (As in, they have home addresses for lots of people - but not everyone - in various databases which are up to date in varying degrees, but there is no database of home addresses, and the other databases aren't linked.)

    There is no database of Irish citizens. In general no decision is made about whether you are an Irish citizen or not unless and until you apply for a passport, and of course many citizens have no passport.

    They have the other data you mention, but in unlinked databases.
    Overheal wrote: »
    I don’t see how that constitutes an extraordinary violation of privacy?
    It's the linkage between databases, and the uses to which they are put, which create the problem. It's suggested earlier in the thread that Denmark does not conduct national censuses because the national population register makes it unnecessary. But that means (a) that the national population register is linked to lots of other databases that contain other information collected by the census beyond your name, address and date of birth, and then (b) that all this information is available to the various agencies that, in other countries, use census data for planning, decision-making, etc. And that's a lot of agencies. We're told that this data is available to postal workers, etc, so they can screen your mail for delivery.
    Overheal wrote: »
    The government wouldn’t have access like that to medical records though.
    The HSE, a government agency, has extensive medical records on you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 82,828 ✭✭✭✭Overheal


    But you're implying there is a linkage that allows them to systematically pull up a list of people who have HIV and where they live.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 26,511 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    There isn't in Ireland, of course.

    But if you see no problems with linking of information in government databases ("for administrative efficiency") then the government does have records of HIV tests and their outcomes (since the the tests are administering in public health facilities) and they can link that to where the patient lives, and who he lives with, and all the other data they have on the patient.

    And don't assume that your health records are always going to be cut off in some impregnable silo. There are considerable benefits to sharing health records, so your GP can see what hospital treatment you have had, and vice versa; so drug-seekers trying to get multiple prescriptions from different doctors can be identified and frustrated; so pharmacists can verify prescriptions; so the health requirements for a driving licence or a social welfare entitlement can be applied; etc; etc. So the temptation to share and link this data is always there.

    So, if you don't have a culture that says no, hang on, there are real privacy issues here and we need a strong culture that demand a justification for collecting data and a further justification for using it and a further justification for sharing it, and strict scrutiny at every step, we very quickly slide into a situation where the government knows far more about you than they have any good reason to.

    Of course, governments would never abuse the power this gives them, would they? I mean, no government has ever done that, have they?


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,502 ✭✭✭✭Cookie_Monster


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Of course, governments would never abuse the power this gives them, would they? I mean, no government has ever done that, have they?

    can you show that Denmark (since it was given as an example of a country that manages this properly) abuses this information on a regular basis?


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,511 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    can you show that Denmark (since it was given as an example of a country that manages this properly) abuses this information on a regular basis?
    Well, according to OscarBravo, Denmark uses the database to intercept your mail and make sure you don't get it, for no very obvious reason that I can see. That's actually a crime in Ireland, whereas in Denmark it seem to be government policy.

    But that isn't really the point. Interference with the post excepted, the Danes may at the present time be models of restraint when it comes to the abuse of government power. It would nevertheless be very, very stupid to frame policy here on the assumption that all governments will forever be models of restraint when it comes to the abuse of power. History suggests otherwise

    What the Danes have is a system of comprehensive population registration which is actually quite common in continental European countries though, being Danish, they do it more thoroughly and effectively than most. Even before information technology gave governments the power to leverage such registers by linking them to other databases, it's unquestionable that they have been abused. They were extensively used, for example, by the Nazis to round up Jews, first in Germany and then in various occupied territories . It's a hell of a lot easier to round up the Jews if you have a handy list of their names and addresses, and of everyone in the family, so if somebody happens to be out when you mount your raid, you know who you're still looking for.

    OK, that's a particularly extreme example. I do not suggest that either the Danish government or the Irish government would use their information in such a way. But the fact is the biggest threat to your liberty is always your own government; they have resources, information and power that nobody else has. And handing them yet more power over you therefore needs a compelling justification. It may be the right thing to do, but it's not a no-brainer.


  • Registered Users Posts: 82,828 ✭✭✭✭Overheal


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Well, according to OscarBravo, Denmark uses the database to intercept your mail and make sure you don't get it, for no very obvious reason that I can see. That's actually a crime in Ireland, whereas in Denmark it seem to be government policy.

    Makes sure that you *get* the mail, not *don't get*. As in, your mail is forwarded to your current address by the postal service.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,511 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Overheal wrote: »
    Makes sure that you *get* the mail, not *don't get*. As in, your mail is forwarded to your current address by the postal service.
    As in, you can only have post delivered to the address that you have registered. As in, if you happen to be somewhere else, for any reason at all, you're not allowed to receive mail there.

    What problem, exactly, is this solving?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,215 ✭✭✭marklazarcovic


    I got taken off the register, didn't move house, didn't ask to come off,have voted in last election.. haven't got polling card, checked was I on the live register and I'm gone,wtf.. I've been delivering polling cards for people who are long dead and long moved away for this election (postie) yet I'm taken off the register when I actively vote ffs.


  • Registered Users Posts: 82,828 ✭✭✭✭Overheal


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    As in, you can only have post delivered to the address that you have registered. As in, if you happen to be somewhere else, for any reason at all, you're not allowed to receive mail there.

    What problem, exactly, is this solving?

    I would have to imagine they have a protocol for a temporary mailing address, it’s too simple a “what if” to not have been thought of. Neither you nor I really has any experience with their system.


  • Registered Users Posts: 82,828 ✭✭✭✭Overheal


    I got taken off the register, didn't move house, didn't ask to come off,have voted in last election.. haven't got polling card, checked was I on the live register and I'm gone,wtf.. I've been delivering polling cards for people who are long dead and long moved away for this election (postie) yet I'm taken off the register when I actively vote ffs.

    Must not have voted how They wanted you to vote.


  • Registered Users Posts: 869 ✭✭✭carq


    i am on the register 3 times !
    I am on 2 different addresses in the current town where i live ( Applied for change of address - they never removed the old address) and also my home address down the country where i grew up ( A polling card arrived down last week)

    the whole thing is open for mass manipulation.
    Whoever is managing the register is not up to scratch.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 10,905 ✭✭✭✭Bob24


    It is a separate topic from this particular referendum, but our voting system is a mess in many aspects and needs an overhaul.

    I personal know of non Irish/British citizens who have received polling cards for Dail elections before, as well as British ones who have received them for referendums, so the register is clearly filled with inaccuracies about who is allowed to vote and for which type of elections - which is not acceptable.

    Identification procedures on the day are also very lax compared to other countries, and their is very poor control of who puts what in the ballot box. IMO all the boxes should be transparent so that anyone can check what’s happening in them. And the action of checking someone’s identity, marking them has having voted on the register, and their actually putting their ballot in the box should all happen at the same time with strict supervision.


Advertisement