The DUP and SDLP should focus their concerns on the thousands of voters denied their democratic right to vote rather than demonising those who applied for postal and proxy votes, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said.
“I’m surprised that Arlene Foster and Colum Eastwood have today expressed concern over the rise in the numbers of people from nationalist areas applying for postal and proxy votes at the last election,” he commented.
“Any citizen is perfectly entitled to apply for a postal and proxy vote if they are unable to attend the polling station on the day of the election.
“That is their right in any democracy and I would have thought that people exercising that right would be welcomed by political parties. Instead we see both the DUP and the SDLP today raising ‘concerns’ as if these voters have done something wrong.
“They haven’t done anything wrong as has been confirmed by the Electoral Office.
“What is wrong is the fact that 60,000 people were undemocratically and unfairly removed from the electoral register last year. And the fact that almost 3,500 people were turned away from the polling station when they turned up to vote in the Assembly election.
“Perhaps that is where the DUP and the SDLP should be focusing their concerns rather that demonising the electorate for exercising their democratic entitlement.”