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Report confirms Sinn Fein fears on Electoral Register

7 October, 2004


Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has said that the latest report from PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Electoral Commission confirms what Sinn Féin have been saying ever since the introduction of new legislation governing electoral registration, that the electoral register will continue to shrink in unless urgent steps are taken to address the problem.

Mr Doherty said:

"This report from PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Electoral Commission confirms what Sinn Féin have been saying ever since the introduction of new legislation governing electoral registration, that the electoral register will continue to shrink in unless urgent steps are taken to address the problem.

"It is very worrying for the future of democracy in the Six Counties that not only is there an estimated 15% of the adult population that are entitled to vote currently excluded from the register but that this report concludes that there the 'emerging trend in the electoral register is downward'.

"The report highlights the significant weakness in the way that canvassing is carried out. In a situation where over 200,000 people have been disenfranchised it is rank stupidity to base future canvases on the current register. This approach can only mean that all future registers will disenfranchise greater numbers of people.

"While the report does not identify poverty as a defining factor in not being on the register it does highlight the fact that fluctuation in the register is highest in deprived areas.

"Sinn Féin have voiced concerns about the impact of this legislation from day one. We have raised these concerns directly with the Electoral Commission and with the British government. There needs to be substantial changes to the legislation to address the democratic deficit that it has created." ENDS

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