10 November 2005 Edition
It was revealed this week that a total of 242,000 people in the Six Counties have still not completed forms for the new electoral register and only have until 18 November to do so.
The annual report of the Chief Electoral Officer gives statistics about the register since the Electoral Fraud Act was introduced in 2002 and shows new legislation has served only to disenfranchise voters.
Given the fact that nearly a quarter-of-a-million people have not returned their forms and 90,000 households have never previously registered to vote the electoral registration process is in crisis.
"We have to ensure that people are registered and are entitled to use their vote," stressed Sinn Féin Director of Elections Seán Begley. "In 2003 1,097,551 people were registered to vote but that figure dropped to 1,047,601 in 2004. The figure increased to 1,148,010 for this year's Westmin-ster elections in May.
"This 1.15 million figure accounts for about 91% of the eligible electorate."
Commenting on the report Chief Electoral Officer Denis Stanley said the electoral office is keen to pursue those 242,000 people who have not responded.
"These are people who were on the register but have not responded and, in addition, we have another 90,000 households who have never previously registered to vote."