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Sinn Féin welcomes Electoral Commission efforts to encourage Youth Voting

27 April, 2005

South Down Sinn Féin Representative Caitriona Ruane has welcomed efforts by the Electoral Commission to encourage young people to vote, but says that the Commission must recognise that the main barrier to this has been the disfranchisement of thousands of young people because of the draconian electoral laws here.

Ms Ruane said:

"Sinn Féin would obviously welcome any moves by the Electoral Commission to increase participation in the electoral process by young people. As the political party with the largest and fastest growing youth organisation in the country we are acutely aware of the barriers which young people face in taking part in political life here.

"One of the main barriers, and the Electoral Commission need to realise this, is the fact that the current registration requirements rushed through Westminster at the behest of the SDLP and the unionists has resulted in thousands of young people being disenfranchised totally.

" The requirement for individual registration has directly removed more young people from the electoral process than apathy or discontent with the political process or the direction of politics. Finding a mechanism to address this very obvious shortfall should be the starting point of any Electoral Commission efforts to increase youth participation in politics." ENDS

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