Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (882)

Pádraic McCormack

Question:

1004 Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the steps he intends to take to redress the organised attempt by a group of people to manipulate the registration of voters by having addresses of convenience provided for people who are not in fact resident in an electoral area (details supplied). [2276/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

The compilation of the register of electors is a matter for the appropriate local registration authority working in conjunction with the county registrar and in accordance with electoral law.

A person is entitled to be registered at the address where he or she ordinarily resides. Offences and penalties in relation to the registration of electors, including knowingly furnishing false information in an application for entry on the register, and the prohibition on voting by a person registered as an elector when not entitled to be so registered are also set out in electoral law.

My Department has issued a memorandum for guidance to registration authorities for the preparation of the register of electors including such matters as consideration of applications from persons with more than one address and consultations, where appropriate, with other registration authorities. Section 11 of the Electoral Act 1992 specifically prohibits the registration of a person as an elector more than once in any registration area and in more than one registration area.

In addition, the returning officer or the presiding officer may of his or her own volition, or if so requested by a personation agent present in the polling station, request any person at the time of applying for a ballot paper to produce a specified document as proof of identity and if the person fails to produce such a document, or if the returning officer or presiding officer is not satisfied that the person is the person to whom the document relates, such person shall not be permitted to vote.

In prospect of the European and local elections in June 2004, I intend to review further the effectiveness of provisions designed to combat voter personation and to bring forward improvements if necessary.