Some people who died 10 years ago are still on the electoral register in county Cork and mystery surrounds why others who have been living at the same address for more than 30 years were suddenly taken off it, Cork County Council has heard.
The situation has become so acute that a senior council official suggested county councillors and families of the deceased contact the local authority so they can remove the dead from the register.
Cllr Liam Madden said the current register needs a major overhaul as he knows of a person who has been dead 10 years whose family got a voting card for them and found the experience very upsetting.
He also maintained that families of the deceased are finding it hard to get them removed from the register.
Mr Madden added that people presiding at polling stations regularly see the names of dead people on the register.
“If somebody passes away and the family get a voting card for them this can be very upsetting,” Cllr Gobnait Moynihan said.
Cllr Audrey Buckley said she had previously worked as a presiding officer and had regularly marked the names of dead people off the register, only to see them appearing again at the next election.
She said twice she had to ask for her late father’’s name to be taken off the register and is still waiting to see if it has been.
Cllr Kevin Murphy said the names of dead people on the register “could be open to (electoral) abuse.”
He said he also knows of people dead for some years whose families are still getting voting cards.
“We need a very big update. Some years ago we used to have people employed in various areas to keep the register updated. We don’t do that anymore, that’s the problem,” Mr Murphy added.
Cllr Marcia D’Alton said she has spoken to a presiding officer who recently had to deal with a person who arrived very upset at a polling station with a voting card belonging to a deceased relative.
Cllr Danny Collins said: “It can be heartbreaking for some families to get cards two, three or four years after a loved one has died. How about us contacting our funeral homes and asking for their help in updating the register?”
Cllr Joe Carroll maintained the accuracy of the register in his area “was way out".
“People living in same residence 30 years were taken off it, where is that coming from?” he asked.
“The system is not fit for purpose anymore. People are being taken off the register for no apparent reason having voted for many years,” Cllr Kay Dawson said.
Cllr Anthony Barry said he recently went into some housing estates in his hometown of Carrigtwohill and discovered the electoral register was only 35% accurate.
“It’s only when you get to see the register that you realise how much out of date it is,” Cllr Deirdre O’Brien said.
The council’s deputy chief executive, James Fogarty, told councillors if they knew of somebody dead on the register they should communicate this to the council, as should relatives of the deceased.