Cork branch of Social Democrats at centre of Garda probe of alleged voter fraud

Cork branch of Social Democrats at centre of Garda probe of alleged voter fraud

Gardaí are investigating a complaint that a party member allegedly voted twice in February's general election.

A Cork branch of the Social Democrats is at the centre of a Garda investigation into alleged voter fraud, the Irish Examiner understands.

The investigation concerns a complaint made by one member of the party against another in the Cork North Central constituency. Both members are believed to be students.

It concerns a situation during February’s general election in which the subject of the complaint allegedly voted twice, once in their home constituency and once in the city.

No arrests have been made while the Garda investigation continues.

The Social Democrats was asked for a response to several queries on the matter, including whether or not an internal disciplinary action had been instigated, and whether or not the party itself had referred the complaint to the gardaí.

Internal review

“We have no comment to make,” said a spokesperson.

It is understood, however, that an internal review of the issue within the party is ongoing and that, in the meantime, the subject of the complaint remains a party member.

It is believed that the complaint was made directly to the gardaí by the complainant and that the party did not directly refer it.

Several sources have suggested that there is a deal of tension in the party regarding the complaint and the internal review, with those outside the constituency believing that the subject of the complaint should be disciplined.

“This isn’t something the party can do anything about,” said another source. 

It’s a matter for the gardaí.

Reported voter fraud in an Irish context, though a criminal offence, is relatively rare. However, issues surrounding Ireland’s system of supplementary electoral registers have seen that system accused of presenting an open opportunity for such fraud given people are commonly registered in two or even more constituencies.

A report by the Oireachtas Environment Committee published prior to the 2016 election found that just under 500,000 people were registered to vote in Ireland who should not have been.

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