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Sinn Féin welcome commitment reinstatement of voters lost from September register

16 December, 2004

Sinn Féin Vice President, West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has welcomed the written commitment from NIO Minster John Speller that voters who were on the September register but who were wiped off the last register will have their democratic franchise reinstated.

Mr Doherty said:

"Sinn Féin put the issue of electoral disenfranchisement high on the agenda in recent negotiations and the British government have now given firm commitments to address the situation.

"In this context I welcome the written commitment from John Speller that people who were on the September register but who are not on the current register will have their democratic entitlement to vote reinstated before next year's election.

"However, I am concerned that he states clearly that he may have difficulty in finding parliamentary time to pass the necessary legislation to ensure that this happens.

"Over the past two years more than 200,000 people who were entitled to vote have been arbitrarily removed from the electoral register as a result of the recent changes.

"The minister must find the parliamentary time for this legislation. If he doesn't then more people will be prevented from voting in next year's election. There is a clear responsibility to end the denial of the fundamental democratic right of people to participate in elections." ENDS

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