STRANGFORD MP Jim Shannon MP speaking after his meeting with Graeme Shields, Chief Electoral Officer, has urged people to sign up to the electoral register.
He said: “The Province–wide canvas starts on 24 August and they have to be returned by 27 September 2013. The Final Electoral Register will be finalised and available for 2 December 2013.
“In my discussion with the CEO, I pointed out the need to have more people on the electoral list and to do that would involve contact directly with BSO and DWP to ensure that those who move house, who got married or who achieve their eighteenth nirthday are retained within the electoral regime.
“1.24million people are on the register but only 78% of those on the list are registered at the right location and that is the group that needs to be reached. The advantage of being on the electoral list is that you can change the political direction that the country is going to. If you are registered you can obtain credit facilities, a mobile phone or qualify for retail accommodation or finance.
“The new electoral register canvas starting 24 August 2013 will be the opportunity to be part of the future voting structure for Northern Ireland and to influence the political direction. Even if you are on the electoral register, you still need to register on the August canvas, this will be the clean slate and new start for people.
“There will be an election in 2014 for local councils and also Europe and in 2015 there will be the Westminster election with the Assembly elections too. There may be teething problems with polling stations as the electoral changes kick in and you need to make sure that you are on the list and able to vote for who ever you have decided to vote for.
“The electoral commission can do so much, they will contact you in your house, but you the elector has to fill the form in and return it to the Electoral office in the pre-paid envelope and you too can make a difference to the direction of Northern Ireland but you must be registered to do it,” added Mr Shannon.