'Nearly more dead than living’ on voting register

An investigation into the electoral register in Co Cork is to be carried out after claims there were “nearly more dead people on it than the living”.

Concerns were also raised that many of the living had been inexplicably removed from it, some after more than 20 years.

In one case, members of the same household were directed to polling stations in different municipal districts that were miles apart.

Fine Gael councillor Kevin Murphy raised the issue at the first meeting of newly-elected councillors in County Hall. He told officials he had come across several cases where voters were entered in the register “up to four or five different times”.

He said the council would have to employ staff to do a root and branch check of the entire register to ensure it was fit for purpose.

The council was told that:

  • People in different municipal districts had been taken off the register;
  • Several people who were on the register for years were taken off it all of a sudden;
  • The register was in a very poor state in terms of its accuracy;
  • voters who were long since dead were still on the register.

Fine Gael councillor Anthony Barry said it was very upsetting for relatives to get polling cards for loved ones who have died.

“The register is completely out of date,” he said. “If I’d gone down to the graveyard in Carrigtwohill I’d nearly have got more votes there.”

Fianna Fáil councillor Gobnait Moynihan said she had come across a bizarre situation at a house on the outskirts of Ballincollig where there were five people on the register.

“Three of them were directed to vote in the Macroom municipal district, and the other two in Ballincollig,” she said.

“Obviously they weren’t expecting to be voting in areas miles apart. It must have been a clerical error.

Obviously mistakes can happen, and this was probably a teething problem brought on by the city boundary extension. But issues like this have to be fixed.

Mayor of County Cork, Fianna Fáil’s Christopher O’Sullivan, said that he was aware of a number of the issues raised by colleagues, but pointed out it was up to voters to check with the council’s Franchise Department that they were on the electoral register.

He said he would ask officials to compile a report. Kerry County Council has also launched an investigation into irregularities in its electoral register.

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