The Electoral Reform Bill has this evening (Wednesday 13 July) been passed by Dáil Éireann, following its passage through the Seanad last week. The establishment of the Electoral Commission will now proceed, with recruitment of its membership and Chief Executive to follow shortly. This groundbreaking legislation will bring about the development, modernisation and reform of Ireland’s electoral system, structures and processes.
I look forward to the implementation of key initiatives to be progressed in this once-in-a-generation reform of Ireland’s electoral system.
The key elements of the Bill include:
establishment of a statutory, independent Electoral Commission for Ireland
the modernisation of our electoral registration process to deliver greater accessibility and greater integrity
the regulation of online political advertising to provide for transparency during electoral campaigns and ensure that our elections remain free from hidden influences on how we vote
provisions to protect the integrity of our electoral processes which will see the regulation of electoral process information and online electoral information in order to guard against manipulative or inauthentic behaviour during electoral campaigns
the strengthening of our regulatory regime in respect of political donations and accounts, including the provision of new investigatory and enforcement powers to the Standards in Public Office Commission
amendments to electoral law to provide that voting on the islands will take place on the same day as for the rest of the country
the extension of flexible voting facilities which are currently available to persons with physical illnesses or disabilities to persons with mental health difficulties
As our society evolves, and the way we live changes, it is important that our electoral system evolves with it. This Electoral Reform Bill will ensure that our democratic structures and processes continue to be accessible and responds to the reality of how we live our lives.
"I am enthused about this Bill and, as Minister with responsibility for Electoral Reform, I look forward to ensuring that its many elements are brought to fruition as soon as is possible.