An intriguing article in yesterday’s Irish News regarding suspicions by Chief Electoral Officer, Douglas Bain, that a political party may have been involved in forging signatures on applications for postal and proxy votes ahead of the General Election.
On the matter, Bain declares
This is a matter that will go to the police after the election.”
And, before hackles are raised, the clue regarding the likely suspect is to be found in the fact that the alleged discrepancy in signatures was noticed between forms submitted for the Castlereagh Council by election and the General Election in the same constituency (not really likely to be target constituencies for nationalist parties…)
For the record, I think the entire approach of the Electoral Office regarding registration is a disgrace, with not a little of the power freak syndrome involved. The Irish News today also carries a story about how a former Sinn Fein councillor had his application for a postal vote rejected because he was told his signature did not match an earlier signature obviously retained by the Office for comaparative purposes.
As one who spent years doorstepping people trying to get new and old voters registered (many in the early/mid Noughties did not even know they weren’t registered) I can testify to the frustrations experienced by voters who, having completed and posted in registration forms, were subsequently informed that they would have to take time off work to attend Electoral Courts at given times just to ensure they were returned to the register.
Given that National Insurance details and photo ID are now preconditions for voting, is there any real justification for the type of anal antics of the Electoral Office in this (and past) elections?