Option of anonymous voter registration gets green light

The British government has signalled it will support the right of some electors to anonymously register to vote, indicating that the criteria will be drawn up in the short term. Whilst the Minister (David Hanson) intimated that this option would be limited to individuals whose safety is deemed at risk, the evidence from the last local election would indicate that making anonymous the names of election candidates’ nominees would be consistent with the stated aim of protecting individuals seeking to be involved in the democratic process from potential attack.In the aftermath of the election of Billy Leonard as the first Sinn Fein councillor in Coleraine last year, the names of electors (and their relatives) who signed the party candidates’ Nomination forms for Coleraine Council were posted on walls around the town in a clear act of intimidation by loyalists. Some of the individuals mentioned were later personally threatened, assaulted and/ or had their homes attacked. With this in mind, it would make sense for the British government and Electoral Office to introduce new arrangements which will prevent this from re-occuring in the future.