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Billy Kelleher: Political system has 'vested interest' in low voter turn out

Billy Kelleher: Political system has 'vested interest' in low voter turn out

Fianna Fáil TD and aspiring MEP, Billy Kelleher has called for an ongoing Electoral Commission that would continuously monitor the system.

He said that the low turn out in some areas meant that local authorities are not representative of the people “they are supposed to represent,” he told RTE radio’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show.

Mr Kelleher also questioned the issue of the criteria by which candidates are deemed eligible. He warned that in the future there could be a situation where there are “40, 50 or 60 people on the ballot.”

He said it suits the political system if there is a low voter turn out.

Why increase voter turn out if you’re winning on a lower turn out. There is a vested interest to leave it as it is.

An Electoral Commission could look at the best international options. “Even in the third world they have electronic voting.”

He pointed out that there was “seven tonnes of paper” in the count centre in Cork.

Mr Kelleher also raised the issue of the length of time it takes for votes to be counted under the present system. “We need an effective political system. We should make it easier to get into the polling booth.”

There is an inherent distrust by the public of politicians making decisions on such issues, “that’s why an Electoral Commission should handle the issue,” he said.

The volume of deliberately spoiled votes in the European election needs to be examined and explained, he added.

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