Cork's register of electors needs to updated to ensure its accuracy

Cork's register of electors needs to updated to ensure its accuracy
A voter placing a ballot paper in a ballot box at a polling station. Councillors in Cork said the current register of electors needs to be reviewed with families receiving polling cards for long-deceased relatives. Pic: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The electoral register in Cork has come under fire following the local elections for being out of date and inaccurate.

A number of councillors called for a review of the system across the country in order to decipher if the issue is at a local or national level.

Fine Gael Councillor Kevin Murphy said there are partners whose loved ones have passed away four and five years previously still getting a voting card sent to their home for their deceased family member.

“It is completely unacceptable,” Councillor Murphy said, “Something should be done to make it more user-friendly.

“There are people, three, four, five times on the register. I’m not sure if this is a regional or national issue, but it needs to be dealt with.

“There used to be people employed by Cork County Council to check the electorate several times a year, this hasn’t happened in years. We should be employing people to ensure that the register is up to date.

“It is a disgrace to have people who are not on the register who should be and more people on it three or four times.” 

Fine Gael Councillor Kay Dawson agreed with Mr Murphy and said it needed to be looked into.

“I don’t know where you go with it or who you write a letter to but it is something that needs to be looked at.

“For people taken off the register, it should be written down beside it who took you off and why. I think it is an overall national issue.” 

Fine Gael Councillor Anthony Barry said the register is out of date.

“When you actually analyse the register you see how completely out of date it is.

I maintain if I went down to the graveyard in Carrigtwohill I would have as many votes as I have from the living.

“It is very upsetting for people whose loved ones have passed away five six seven years and still getting notices for the elections coming through the door.

“As well as this, there are people that have been taken off the register and that needs to be dealt with, it is completely unacceptable.” Mr Barry said the whole process of getting onto the register is onerous enough and being dropped for no reason shouldn’t happen.

Fianna Fáil Councillor Frank O’Flynn was flabbergasted by the antiquated system that is still in use for the electoral register.

“With modern technology, we can put a man on the moon and it is crazy with modern technology that there are still people not on the register.

“I know people on the register all their lives and then suddenly taken off. Things should be done to make it more user-friendly.” 

Mr O’Flynn called for an online system that could accommodate people working shifts, nights or long days.

“There should be an online system, with PPS number and Eircode and log in that way.” Following the discussion, the council decided to compile a report on the register to determine if the register is accurate across other areas and assess if the problem is a local or national problem.

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