A Postal Voters list is prepared every year as part of the Register of Electors compilation process. Postal voting is provided only in respect of certain categories of persons as specified in electoral law. An elector registered as a postal voter may vote by post only and may not vote at a polling station.
The following categories of persons must be registered as postal voters:
- Whole-time members of the Defence Forces - members who live in military barracks may be registered either at the barracks or at their home address. Form RFC
- Irish diplomats posted abroad and their spouses - they are registered at their home address in Ireland. Form SV5 which is available from the Department of Foreign Affairs must be completed.
The following categories of persons may apply for registration as postal voters:
- Members of An Garda Síochána. Form RFB
- Persons living at home who are unable to go to a polling station to vote because of a physical illness or physical disability. Form PV1 (2016/17).
- Persons whose occupations are likely to prevent them from voting at their local polling station on election day, including full-time students registered at home who are living elsewhere while attending an educational institution in the State. Form PV2 (2016/17) (Irish / English)
- Prisoners - any person detained in a prison pursuant to an order of a court may apply to the registration authority covering the address where he/she would have been residing but for the fact of their detention. Form RFG (for those who are already registered as an elector) and RFA4 (for those who are not registered as an elector).
A Special Voters list is also prepared every year as part of the Register of Electors compilation process. Those eligible to apply for special voter status are persons ordinarily resident at a hospital, nursing home or similar institution who are unable to vote at a polling station by reason of a physical illness or physical disability that is likely to continue for the period the Register is in force. Form SV1 (2016/17)
Electors on the Special Voters list vote at their hospital, nursing home, etc. by completing a ballot paper brought to them by a special presiding officer who is accompanied by a Garda.
The statutory closing date for receipt of application forms for inclusion on the Postal or Special Voters List is 25th November each year, except in the case of Diplomats the closing date is 30th September.
A Supplement to the Postal and Special Voters' list is prepared during the year of an election or referendum.
If you are eligible for the Postal or Special Voters' list but are not included, you can apply for inclusion in the relevant postal or special voters supplement to the Register of Electors. Form PVS1, PVS2 (Irish), PVS2 (English), SVS1.
The latest date for receipt of applications is two days after the date of dissolution of the Dáil in the case of a general election or two days after the making of the order appointing polling day in the case of a Dáil bye-election. In the case of a presidential, European, local election or referendum applications must be received at least 22 days (disregarding any excluded day) before polling day.