Derry’s electoral office closed down

The former Electoral Office at Queen Street. (Google Earth)
The former Electoral Office at Queen Street. (Google Earth)

Derry’s electoral office in the city centre has been shut down permanently, officials have confirmed.

The closure of the Queen Street facility comes following a review of offices across Northern Ireland.

Derry and Omagh were the last remaining offices outside of Belfast, but both have now closed and the service has been centralised to Belfast.

There had previously been widespread concerns expressed among local politicians that the Derry office was under threat.

NI Chief Electoral Officer Virginia McVea said the closure of the two offices involved three voluntary redundancies at each site, and that NIPSA union officials had been consulted throughout the process.

She said that consultation began several years ago but was postponed due to unscheduled elections and uncertainty around Assembly elections.

Government cuts of £250,000 had meant the Electoral Office had to look at the cost of running offices, she said, adding: “The other factor is that in June last year we went live with online registration and we are now sitting at 80-90% of people who register to vote now do it through the online system. We were surprised. Online registration has made a massive difference.”

Virginia McVea said that a pilot project in two councils elsewhere in Northern Ireland was under way to install voting register booth computer terminals in Council buildings, which may be rolled out to other areas.

If people wish to vote via the paper system they are now advised to contact Belfast.