17 August 2006 Edition

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Election register Many voters not on list

Call for focused registration drive

While supporting the initiative, Sinn Féin recognises that even with such an overhaul gaps might well remain in the register. Part of the reason for this concern is that the registration overhaul is to be carried out on the initiatives of local authorities with each authority conducting the project at its own discretion. The Department of the Environment recommends that dwellings be called on as part of an intensive process of updating the Register and where no response is obtained on a first visit, a second visit is required. Registration forms are also to be handed in at every door.

Despite these guidelines, local authorities will employ different methods in the registration update, allowing for potential gaps. Some authorities might retain the old enumeration while others may deploy staff to do door-to-door enquiries.

To ensure that republican voters and supporters of the party are registered, Sinn Féin is calling on party election teams to undertake a focused registration campaign throughout September.

Sinn Féin Director of Elections Pat Doherty said that Sinn Féin Cúigí should ensure that all directorates appoint a specific person with responsibility for registration. A leaflet on registration will be made available to election workers for distribution detailing access points for registration forms - places such as libraries, Council offices, Garda stations and Sinn Féin offices. Posters, with the slogan Let Your Voice be Heard, are also to be issued promoting the registration drive.

The launch of the registration campaign will take place this September. Pat Doherty has recommended that canvassers combine the register campaign with their canvass.

It is very important that the entire electorate is enabled and encouraged to vote, especially our own base and there is every possibility that people may miss the registration process. "There are potential first time voters who have never been registered. There are also incidents where people have died and other people have moved into their dwellings. People move from one part of the country to live in another county and may not remember to register at their new address," he said.

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