50,000 people registered to vote in last 13 weeks

ALMOST 50,000 people have signed up to vote in the past 13 weeks, one-third more than before the 2007 general election.

The significant rise in numbers on the supplementary register brings the total electorate close to 3,210,000, although a precise figure cannot be confirmed. This is because an unknown number of the 48,963 on the supplementary register for the 43 constituencies may already have been on the official register, in place since last November, but have changed address.

The holding of the election on a Friday could also be a factor following pushes by student unions to get college-goers to register.

Dublin City Council has seen the biggest spike on its register since the official document was completed last November, up by 6,433. But this is one-third fewer than joined the register for the 2007 election, which was held three months later in May.

The second-biggest rise in voter registration ahead of the election is in Cork County Council, whose residents are eligible to cast their ballots in five constituencies, with almost 3,600 names added to the electoral register. This is 79% more than the 2,003 on its supplementary register for the last general election.

It is followed by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (2,925), Meath (2,184), Kildare (2,100) and Galway County Council (2,014).

Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s native Offaly has seen the biggest proportional spike in voters added to the register, almost quadrupling since 2007 from 274 to 1,020. Neighbouring Co Laois, which forms a Dáil constituency with Offaly, has 1,101 people on its supplementary register, twice that in 2007.

Counties in the Dublin commuter belt feature strongly among those with numbers on the supplementary register which are at least twice the 2007 rate.

Meath has 2,200 (almost trebled from 748), Co Kilkenny’s 1507- strong supplementary register compares to 612 in 2007, while Wicklow County Council’s has 1,138 names, up from 534.

Other proportionally big rises are in South Tipperary (up 37% from 2007, to 1,088), Cavan (24% higher at 646 people), and Waterford’s 861 names up from 391.

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