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Ógra Shinn Féin Critical of Electoral Office’s efforts to ensure young people are registered to vote

2 May, 2008

Newcastle Ógra Shinn Féin have criticised the NI Electoral Office for the convoluted procedures that young people are forced to go through in order to get on the electoral register.

Fra Cochrane, Chairperson of Newcastle Ógra said,

"It has been brought to our attention by a number of young people living in the south Down area that they experiencing significant difficulties when trying to get registered to vote. Apparently this problem is being repeated throughout the six counties.

"With less and less people voting during elections it is simply unacceptable that young people are being prevented from registering with the EONI due to an overly bureaucratic and unwieldy system. The difficulties being experience by people trying to get on the live register is succeeding in disenfranchising potential voters and preventing them from exercising their democratic mandate.

"Some young people have even been sent threatening letters saying that their case may be passed on to the PSNI if they do not send on relevant documents such as bank statements which many simply don't have. This type of behaviour by a statutory body is completely unacceptable and instead the Electoral Office should be doing all within its power to ensure people are assisted in getting registered.

"Newcastle Ógra Shinn Féin has raised this matter with our partie's Director of Elections Cllr Sean Begley and we are calling on the EONI to make it easier for those seeking to be placed on the register. Indeed it is imperative that every young people is at least eligible to vote and the onus is on the EONI to ensure this happens." ENDS

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