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McGuinness - Electoral Commission needs to address problems not merely acknowledge them

9 December, 2003

Commenting on the publication this morning of the Electoral Commission Report into the registration process, Sinn Féin MP for Mid-Ulster Martin McGuinness MP said that it was 'very obvious to anyone involved in the recent election campaign that the current system is deeply flawed'.

Mr McGuinness said:

"It is my intention to meet with the Electoral Commission in the time ahead to discuss the many problems which we encountered during the recent campaign. These problems, be they registration or ID, can be directly traced to the SDLP and unionist sponsored legislation under which the register was complied and the election fought.

"This legislation was designed to have the effect of removing voters in disadvantaged areas form the register and was designed to target the Sinn Féin electorate. This legislation needs to be amended.

"Clearly there were also problems with the administration of the election and the count by the Electoral Office which we will seek to meet with the Chief Electoral Officer about also.

"The Electoral Commission have a duty to ensure that the public have confidence in the electoral process. With so many people being disenfranchised under the new legislation and many other being denied their vote because of the problems over ID they clearly have much work to do.

"We need to hear concrete proposals from the Electoral Commission about how they are going to tackle these problems. An acknowledgement that there is a problem is not enough." ENDS

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