No, Irish citizens are not mandatorily required to produce a passport to vote

By: Rahul Adhikari
May 28 2024

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No, Irish citizens are not mandatorily required to produce a passport to vote

A social media post claiming Irish citizens are mandatorily required to produce a passport to vote. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

Irish citizens can vote without a passport by producing another valid identity card, such as a driver's license among other options.

Claim ID 948421d7

What is the claim?

Days before the upcoming local polls and elections for the European Parliament in Ireland, a video is circulating on social media with the claim that Irish citizens are not allowed to vote without showing a passport. In the video, a person can be heard interpreting election guidelines and expressing outrage and disbelief over a policy allowing non-EU citizens, including those not holding a passport or permanent residence, to vote in local elections. Ireland will vote for 31 local authorities and the European Parliament on June 7. 

In the video, the person is heard saying, "...non-EU citizens outside the EU (European Union) can vote in the local elections. So, even if you're not a resident or you don't hold a passport here, you can still vote…so, you can vote in an election if you are a non-EU citizen regardless of the type of residence you hold or if you're seeking asylum and you have not received a decision on your application. So, all these illegals coming into the country have the right to vote (sic)..." 

The caption of one post sharing the video further claims (in a likely attempt at comparison) that an Irish citizen cannot allegedly vote unless the person produces a passport. The caption reads, "Asylum Voting Advice! 🤬 So I'm an Irish citizen but if I didn't show MY passport I couldn't vote. Two tier system (sic)." An archived version of the post can be viewed here.

However, contrary to the viral claim, Irish citizens can vote in the local polls and the European elections without showing a passport by producing another acceptable identity card.

What did we find?

We checked Ireland's official Citizens Information website and found that the person in the viral video was reading the guidelines about the voting rights of non-EU citizens. The guidelines mention that non-EU citizens are allowed to vote only in local elections.

Comparsion between the document shown in the viral video and the original document. (Source: Facebook/Citizens Information/Modified by Logically Facts)

Several types of elections in Ireland

The same guidelines page about 'Right to Vote' on the Citizens Information website also explains that there are several types of elections in Ireland: General elections, European elections, Local elections, Presidential elections, Referendums, and Seanad elections. It further clearly mentions, "To vote in any election and referendum, you must be entitled to vote. Your entitlement is based on your nationality, and there are rules about the nationalities that are allowed to vote in elections and referendums in Ireland."

Are Irish citizens required to produce passports for voting?

We checked the various guidelines for the different elections held in Ireland, like referendum, general, and European elections, and found that Irish citizens are not mandatorily required to produce a passport to vote in these elections. They only need to prove their identity with one of the acceptable identity cards or IDs, the same as in the local elections. Guidelines clearly state that voters can present some form of personal identification, such as a passport, a driver's license, or a public services card. A workplace or student identity card or a travel document is also allowed if there is a photograph of the voter. Other forms of identification, such as a credit card or a birth certificate, are also acceptable as long as they have another document that confirms the address in the constituency.

Logically Facts also reached out to Ireland's Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage for confirmation. "This list of documents applies to both Irish citizens and non-Irish citizens intending to vote in the polls for the local and European elections on June 7th," Sean Dunne, an official spokesperson of the department, said. 

The spokesperson also explained that being on the Register of Electors is far more crucial in terms of entitlement to vote in elections. 

"Only people on the Register of Electors are entitled to vote in elections. The Register of Electors is maintained on an ongoing basis by registration authorities (county, city, and county councils in their role as registration authorities under the electoral acts). It is their role to add, remove or update details as necessary to ensure a complete and accurate register of electors. Everybody on the register is entitled to vote at a local election. Persons identified by the letter "L" opposite their names can only vote at a local election," the spokesperson said. 

Non-EU citizens and local elections

As stated on the Citizens Information website, non-EU citizens are only allowed to vote in the local elections in Ireland, through which city and county council members are elected. The website also clarifies that while one need not be an Irish citizen to vote in a local election, he or she must be ordinarily resident in Ireland to vote and live in the local electoral area, be over 18 years of age, and be on the electoral register. "Non-EU citizens are identified by the letter 'L' on the Register of Electors," the website said.

"A person, irrespective of citizenship, needs to be 18 years of age or over and resident in a local electoral area in order to be eligible to be included on the register of electors. No minimum period of time is specified in terms of residency," spokesperson Dunne confirmed.

Ireland had also expanded the acceptable ID list in 2004 to include a Temporary Registration Certificate (TRC) card and a Garda [Police] National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) card to accommodate non-EU citizens, such as refugees and asylum seekers, who may not have required identity documents, at polling stations. This allowed refugees and asylum seekers to vote in local elections for the first time.

According to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Irish citizens have the right to vote in all polls. EU citizens can participate in European and local elections, while non-nationals (excluding EU citizens) are only eligible to vote in local elections. 

The verdict

The claim circulating on social media that Irish citizens can't vote without a passport is false. According to official guidelines, Irish citizens can show any one of the authorized documents from a list of acceptable identity cards to be able to vote, and this can be done without opting for the passport option. 

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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