Fam­ily re­ceives apol­ogy from coun­cil af­ter re­moval from elec­toral regis­ter

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

A BRAY man was dis­ap­pointed to dis­cover that he and his el­derly par­ents had all been re­moved from the elec­toral regis­ter with­out their knowl­edge, when they went to vote in the re­cent elec­tions.

Si­mon Doyle of No­vara Lane said that he has been in touch with Wick­low County Coun­cil and re­ceived a re­sponse re­in­stat­ing the fam­ily on the regis­ter.

‘My mum went to Coláiste Ráithín in Bray on the day of the elec­tion and they had a list of peo­ple who had been re­moved from the list with­out any no­ti­fi­ca­tion.’

‘My dad is 88 and has al­ways voted since the 1950s,’ said Mr Doyle. ‘I wouldn’t mind if some­one would ad­mit the mis­take.’

‘There’s a very sim­ple so­lu­tion, if you have a prob­lem manag­ing a data­base of that size then break it down into smaller chunks, for ex­am­ple do a third of it a year for three years.’

In a let­ter to Mr Doyle, the coun­cil told him that ac­cord­ing to the leg­is­la­tion, the regis­ter shall be pre­pared and pub­lished in ev­ery year. The new regis­ter comes into force on Fe­bru­ary 15 of each year.

Again ac­cord­ing to the leg­is­la­tion, the lo­cal au­thor­ity must make a house to house ‘or other suf­fi­cient’ in­quiry in their regis­tra­tion area.

‘The regis­tra­tion au­thor­ity may for the pur­poses of their du­ties in re­la­tion to the prepa­ra­tion of a regis­ter re­quire a per­son... to give any in­for­ma­tion in his pos­ses­sion which the regis­tra­tion au­thor­ity may re­quire,’ reads the leg­is­la­tion.

‘Wick­low County Coun­cil, as regis­tra­tion au­thor­ity, send out field-work­ers each year to check the ac­cu­racy of the ex­ist­ing regis­ter and to make ad­di­tions to and dele­tions from it,’ wrote the coun­cil.

Nor­mally, the field worker makes a call and if there is not re­ply, leaves a voter regis­tra­tion form and a note. If there is no re­sponse, the field work­ers call back again three weeks later, again leav­ing a form if there is nobody home.

‘If, af­ter two door knocks and the leav­ing of two sets of no­tices and forms, there is no re­sponse, it is rea­son­able for the coun­cil to con­sider the possibilit­y that there are no el­i­gi­ble vot­ers res­i­dent in that house­hold. In such a case, a let­ter is per­son­ally ad­dressed to any ex­ist­ing vot­ers reg­is­tered at that ad­dress re­quest­ing that they con­firm their res­i­dence or oth­er­wise in­di­cate their new ad­dress. If this let­ter also fails to evoke a re­sponse, any elec­tors at that house­hold are deleted and a fi­nal let­ter is per­son­ally ad­dressed to any ex­ist­ing vot­ers reg­is­tered at that ad­dress in­form­ing them ac­cord­ingly,’ wrote the coun­cil.

They said that in the case of the Doyle fam­ily, the pro­ce­dure was not fol­lowed cor­rectly.

‘I very much re­gret that this has hap­pened,’ wrote the coun­cil spokesper­son. ‘Your dele­tion and con­se­quen­tial in­abil­ity to exercise your fran­chise at the re­cent elec­tions and ref­er­en­dum oc­curred be­cause of a hu­man er­ror of omis­sion.’

They said that there is no record of any fol­low up let­ters hav­ing been sent to the house­hold.

All res­i­dents have now been re-added to the regis­ter.

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