Solutions needed to Electoral Register situation
Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy has welcomed the Electoral Commission’s report published this morning into the current state of the register here.
Mr Murphy said:
“Many people will be rightly alarmed at the findings of this report. What it clearly shows is rates of inaccuracy or “incompleteness” up to 29% or 400,000 people not registered at the correct address.
“What is required from the Electoral Office is solutions to this serious problem. That means making it easier to get onto the register, involving the councils in the registration process and the political parties who have a vested interest and looking at online registration.
“Automatically placing new voters onto the register would also seem a sensible way to proceed.
“Sinn Féin predicted back in 2002 when the current legislation was passed that this would be the inevitable outcome. At that time our concerns were dismissed both by the electoral authorities and the other political parties.
“Since then we have mounted our own permanent registration campaign with a view to addressing many of the problems.
“We would propose that a wide consultation is carried out by the EONI and the EC similar to the “on-the-road” consultations carried out by Boundary Commissioner to seek the views of the public and the political parties on the entirety of the registration and voting process.
“While the “Research Report” is to be welcomed it is far from complete.
· There is no comment on the use of flawed Election Register Data to create a base source for new electoral boundaries.
· While there is detailed information with regard to the impact of the registration process on some socio-economic classes and rented or home ownership groups, no information is provided with regard to the geographic or electoral area distribution on the level of accuracy or completeness of the register.
· The report does not highlight the inadequate role of some of the Electoral Office staff or the siting of some of their offices in facilitating the registration process.
· No examination and use of the 2011 Census.
“Sinn Féin will seek meetings with both the Electoral Commission and the Chief Electoral Officer in the coming period to discuss the findings of the report but more importantly will be placing effective new measures in place to rectify the problem and get the register fit for purpose.”