Regeneration residents miss out on vote

Regeneration residents miss out on vote
Exterior view of some of the new homes built under the Knocknaheeny Regeneration Plan. Pic; Larry Cummins

SOME voters who moved house as part of the ongoing Knocknaheeny regeneration project in Cork city found themselves unable to vote in Friday’s referendum.

City Councillor Mick Nugent said more should have been done to assist people in this situation with registration.

He said he was contacted by a couple who found themselves disenfranchised on Friday.

“They had moved in the last couple of years under the regeneration programme and weren’t on the register at their new address and the old address had come off the register,” Mr Nugent said.

“According to one of the count staff, there had been possibly up to 20 others in same boat, who hadn’t a vote.”

There had been a significant public information campaign to get people to double check their vote was in order by the May 8 deadline for the supplemental register, which Mr Nugent acknowledged.

“There is an onus on people to check but I think there is also an onus on City Council to check that, where people are moving, there is a fast turnaround to write to people and get them registered at the new address,” he said.

“When you are talking about the City Council moving people through regeneration, I think there needs to be more of an onus on them to write to people and help.”

The timing of the move appears to have made the difference, with some people who moved recently still registered at their old addresses.

“I did check for a number of people who were still on the register, their moves were pretty recent and their old addresses were still on it but some people missed out,” he said.

“It is unfortunate. Whichever way they wanted to vote, it is unfortunate for someone who wants to vote to miss out.”

Mr Nugent is one of a number of politicians who believe a national body may be better placed than individual councils to oversee the register.

“There is an argument for an Electoral Commission, a national body to get the register streamlined,” he said. “Every election you hear of people coming off the register for unexplained reasons.”

Cork City Council did not respond to a request for a comment.

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