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Paisley report ‘defies all logic’ - McGuigan

5 November, 2018 - by Philip McGuigan

The Electoral Commission’s defence of the handling of the Ian Paisley recall petition ‘defies all logic and the evidence on the ground’, Sinn Féin’s Philip McGuigan has said.

The North Antrim MLA was commenting after the Electoral Commission published its report into the poll, which was held after DUP MP Ian Paisley was sanctioned for lobbying on behalf of the Sri Lankan regime.

Phillip McGuigan said: “The Electoral Office had the option of opening up to ten locations where people could sign the petition, yet they opted to go for just three and now the Electoral Commission has concluded that this did not affect the outcome of the petition.

“That conclusion defies all logic and ignores the evidence on the ground where people were clearly stating that accessibility was a huge factor.

 “The lack of an effective public awareness campaign and worker-friendly opening hours were also major concerns that the Electoral Commission have not satisfactorily addressed.

“At the time of the petition, a number of political parties reported that members of the public were reluctant to attend the signing centres because their reasons for being there would have been easily identified.

“Did the Electoral Commission actually speak to any of those people or did they simply talk to those who had carried out the petition and who were hardly likely to criticise their own work?

“All of the very serious concerns raised during this petition have been simply glossed over by the Electoral Commission report and no substantive recommendations for changes to the process have been made.

“That simply isn’t good enough. The Electoral Office failed in its responsibilities to the people of North Antrim in the way it handled this petition and the Commission should be holding them to account for those failures.”

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