In its ongoing effort to raise awareness of individuals' privacy rights, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) has published a press release on their website on the "Electoral Register and 'Opting Out' of the Edited Register".
Every year, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government encourages individuals to register to vote or to check that their details are up to date on the Electoral Register in advance of the 25 November deadline. In line with publicising such rights, the ODPC wishes to draw attention to the Edited Electoral Register and how it relates to direct marketing.
Local Authorities publish two types of the Electoral Register:
- The "Full Register" that lists everyone who is entitled to vote and may only be used for electoral or other statutory purposes; and
- The "Edited Register" that contains a sub-set of names and addresses of voters whose details can be used for a purpose other than an electoral or statutory purpose such as direct marketing.
It is an offence under Section 32 of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2001 for a body corporate to contact someone from the Full Register for direct marketing purposes. Individuals may exercise their right to opt out of inclusion on the Edited Register by ticking the "opt out" box when completing a Form RFA (registration to vote) or a Form RFA1 (correcting details) before the 25 November deadline.
The amended Electoral Register is published annually on 1 February and comes into force on 15 February.