29/10/2009

Electoral Roll Grows - But More Try Fraud

The number of people on Northern Ireland's Electoral Register has increased by over 31,000.

The new figures relate to the period 2008/09 and also show that the number of cases of suspected postal voting fraud reported to the PSNI has also risen.

The figures along with performance indicators are contained in the Electoral Office Annual report for 2008/09 which was published today.

Douglas Bain, Chief Electoral Officer said: "The report announces another successful year for the Electoral Office which saw the number of people on the Electoral Register rise by almost 3%.

"Preparatory work carried out during the year resulted in a smooth and efficient election to the European Parliament in June," he said.

However, he said he was disappointed by attempts at fraud.

"Despite the very clear warnings given about the action that would be taken to identify postal voting fraud, I have had to refer 49 cases to the PSNI for investigation," he revealed.
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According to the new register the figures published last December initially showed a net increase of nearly 17,000 in the electorate compared with the register published in 2007.

Then, by 31 March 2009 there had been a further net increase of more than 12,000 individuals, largely due to the Electoral Office's 'Schools Initiative', bringing the total electorate now to 1,154,228.

Electoral Registration Week 2008 targeted registering young people particularly those still at school.

The event resulted in substantial media coverage and encouraged further young people and other schools to co-operate fully with what came to be known as the 'Schools Initiative'.

As well as new registrations, during the year a total of 130,175 changes were made to the register, an increase of 23% compared with 2007/08."

The Chief Electoral Officer's Report to the Secretary of State is made each year and it can be viewed in full at www.eoni.org.uk

(BMcC/KMcA)

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