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Sinn Féin to raise electoral concerns with Paul Goggins

30 March, 2009 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin Spokesperson, Pat Doherty MP, MLA (West Tyrone) will lead a Party delegation to meet  with British Minister, Paul Goggins tomorrow to raise a number of concerns around electoral registration and also the Review of Public Administration.   Speaking today Pat Doherty said:   “I am meeting with British Minister of State, Paul Goggins tomorrow to raise serious concerns at the way in which the Electoral Office is interpreting the identification requirements to register to vote.   “One of the key issues that we will raise is that of Irish citizens living abroad being denied the right to register as overseas voters in the same way that British citizens are permitted. This is a clear breach of the terms of the Good Friday Agreement which recognises the rights of both British and Irish passports holders. This is blatant discrimination against Irish Citizens from the North and party colleague Bairbre de Brún has already raised these concerns with the Irish government.   “We are concerned at the number of people who are being removed from or are finding it difficult to get on the Electoral Register because of the multiple pieces of identification being demanded by the electoral Office. Almost 200,000 people who are entitled to vote are not on the register yet the current approach of the Electoral Office is making it harder for people to register.   “We also strongly object to the implications of the Electoral Office questioning the legitimacy and right to vote of people living in larger households because it does not comply with its’ criteria for what constitutes an average family.   “In most democracies the only requirement to get on the register is that you fill out a registration form and then produce personal identification.  Instead of making it as difficult as possible for people to exercise their democratic right to vote the Electoral Office should be seeking ways in which to simplify the process.” ENDS

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