Sinn Féin - On Your Side

12% Drop in voter turnout must be addressed

15 December, 2005

Sinn Féin National Director of Elections Pat Doherty MP has said that the British government must act to address the massive drop in voter turnout in the last Westminster elections.

Mr Doherty said:

"This report from the Electoral Commission showing a 12% drop in voter turnout in the last Westminster elections demands prompt action. The fact that 93,644 fewer people voted in the last election compared with 2001 is hugely worrying.

"I believe this drop has been created, in part, by the British government's interference in the electoral system.

"The electoral register published this month again confirmed what Sinn Féin have been saying for some years about the flawed process in compiling the document. Well over 100,000 people have been deliberately disenfranchised and had their votes effectively stolen by the British government through this process.

"There is a clear need for a permanent rolling register to be established and I look forward to new legislation in the new year. This has come about after a sustained campaign by Sinn Féin to try and undo the damage of the current procedures introduced at the behest of the SDLP and the unionists.

"The current proposal from the British government to start the new process with a blank register is a recipe for disaster. Deliberate attempts to disenfranchise voters must and will be resisted. Sinn Féin will continue to protect the democratic process and raise this issues with the British government in the coming months.

"Voting should be made easier, polling station should be more accessible and all restrictions around the electoral process should be lifted." ENDS

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