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Electoral Office introducing new measures to prevent voter registration

24 March, 2005

Sinn Fein General Secretary Mitchel Mc Laughlin has accused the Belfast Electoral Office of introducing "new blocking measures to prevent people being registered to vote in May."

Mitchel Mc Laughlin said:

"In recent days 642 people from West Belfast who applied to be on the May register have received letters from the Belfast Electoral office challenging their application.

"Over the last number of months in West Belfast, Sinn Fein, the Falls Community Council and the Electoral Commission carried out an intensive registration drive. As a result of this 2000 people applied to be put on the register.

"This latest move by the Electoral Office practically undermines the efforts put into this registration drive.

"Sinn Fein has been in touch with the Office and their response has been less than satisfactory.

"We worked for many years to convince the British government to end Electoral Courts because they acted as a disincentive to people to register.

"We welcomed the British government‚s decision to end these courts but this latest development is the reintroduction of these courts through the back door.

"The Electoral Office must immediately end this new blocking measure and allow those people who have applied to be registered onto the register." ENDS

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