Call for overhaul of electoral register

June 27th, 2019 10:11 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Senator Denis O_Donovan

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COUNCILLORS are calling for an immediate overhaul of the register of electors, with one councillor even suggesting that, if he went down to his local graveyard he would have as many votes from those interned there than he has from the living.

The problems with the register of electors was raised by Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) at a meeting of the local authority and he said it needs a full review.

‘In some instances there are people three, four, five  times on the register. Maybe people should be employed like before to check the register of electors,’ said Cllr Murphy.

‘Some people also found themselves knocked off the register for no reason. We need to have a proper register of electors in place.’

His colleague, Cllr Kay Dawson agreed that the amount of people being taken off is ‘worrying’ and she believes it’s not just a local, but a national issue.

Cobh-based Fine Gael councillor Anthony Barry said it was ‘completely unacceptable’ that some deceased people are still on the register of electors and he said that it was equally upsetting for their loved ones to receive polling cards in the post.

‘If I went down to the graveyard in Carrigtwohill I would have as many votes as I have from the living,’ said Cllr Barry.

‘The whole process of getting onto the register of electors is cumbersome and onerous at the best of times as people have to go to garda stations to get forms signed. Surely with all the technology available a better system could be put in place.’

He also said he knew of one person who had four votes while also hearing of people who had left the country still having votes.

Cllr Frank O’Flynn (FF) also agreed that an easier system should be put in place in this day and age, while his colleague Cllr Seamus McGrath wanted to know how do people end up being thrown off the register.

Cllr Gobnait Moynihan (FF) said she met a family before the local elections and they told her three of them could vote in Macroom and two of them in Ballincollig and she queried if this was a mistake.

County Mayor Cllr Chris O’Sullivan said now was the time to strike ‘while the iron is hot’ and urged councillors to contact the council franchise department with any issues they had.

As reported in The Southern Star last month, Gerard O’Donovan – son of Seanad cathaoirleach Senator Denis O’Donovan – and his wife Claire, from Bantry, were both taken off the register of electors for no apparent reason. They found out too late and were unable to vote in the local or European elections or the marriage referendum.

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