Sinn Féin Assembly Candidate Raymond McCartney is seeking a meeting with the Chief Electoral Officer to discuss concerns over a proposed centralisation of services.
Mr McCartney said:
“The proposed closure of regional offices to be replaced by online registration is a major cause of concern and could have serious ramifications for the democratic process.
“Suggestions that closures of regional offices across the North with the resultant job losses would result in a more efficient service is ludicrous.
“A reliance on online registration alone would most likely result in a further drop in the numbers of people participating in the democratic process, particularly in the older age bracket where a large percentage of eligible voters may not possess the electronic devices necessary to access online facilities.
“How would outreach work in schools be facilitated if these services are centralised in Belfast?
“Electoral Office management have suggested that the proposals result from reduced funding from the NIO. If this is the case then it is unacceptable. It is incumbent on government to ensure that maximum opportunity is afforded to the electorate to enable optimum participation in the exercise of their democratic franchise.
“These proposals I believe would result in the disenfranchising of thousands of eligible voters.
“I am therefore seeking a meeting with the Chief Electoral Officer to get answers to these concerns.” CRÍOCH/END