Almost half the population of 18+ Voters in the North will not have a vote says Hazzard
SINN Féin MLA for South Down Chris Hazzard said the figures published recently show that currently 45% of the population of the the north will not be on the electoral register.
Mr Hazzard said: “The figures released show that on average only 55% of those eligible to vote have returned their electoral registration form. This is a shocking statistic.
“If things remain the same this means that 45% of those of voting age will not have a vote on election day.
South Down MLA Chis Hazzard is concerned at the low level of people registering their vote on the electoral register.
“The Electoral Office must take this figure very seriously. It is their responsibility and they must take immediate action to ensure that people are registered.”
Chris Hazzard added: “Sinn Féin have raised our concerns surrounding the entire electoral registration process. This includes the view that the message was not clear enough in terms of deadlines and the seriousness of not being on the register along with the fact that people will be taken off the register if they have not sent in completed forms.
“This has implications wider than not being able to vote, which is serious enough, but can affect people’s access to personal finance and credit.
“I will be contacting the Electoral Office to press this message home. We cannot have 45% of eligible voters disenfranchised.”
It is in fact against the law not to return your electoral forms when a canvasser comes to your house, and after the electoral office have written to you three times. But this law is seldom enforced and the judiciary have only shown token respect to this when the Electoral off have taken cases to court for non-registration.
The question is, is it too late to act on now given that the Shadow Council elections as part of RPA take place in May 2014, with the Assembly and Westminster elections to follow.
Is local democracy at risk? Could this electoral anomoly bring down the Assembly? How does it impact on the lives of all the people of Northern Ireland? These are the questions being asked now at Stormont. But is it too late to bring decisive action to the fore to ensure the electoral roll is fully complied with?