Over 7,000 no longer on Electoral Register in Foyle and East Derry

Over 7,500 people across Foyle and East Derry have been removed from the Electoral Register, it has been confirmed.

Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 10:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 11:03 am
Patricia Murphy, Deputy Returning Officer. (Photo Lorcan Doherty / Presseye.com)

Those who have failed to respond to correspondence last year will now need to rejoin if they wish to vote in the forthcoming Assembly election.

Deputy Returning Officer Patricia Murphy said this week that in the Foyle constituency that there were 4,900 electors and a further 2,600 in East Derry who had been taken off the register.

The Electoral Office have carried out canvases twice over the past ten years. Those who failed to return their forms were still kept on the register, but under the law were removed in December 2016.

Patricia Murphy said letters were issued twice last year urging people to update their details or risk removal, adding that some may have moved address and not updated their details.

She said that when you tallied all those removed from the register - over 60,000 across the north, it was “a bit scary”.

“A lot of people might not realised they are not on the Register as they may have voted last year. They could be one of those people who didn’t respond to our letter in the Autumn.

“The proof of the pudding will be when the poll cards go out in the first week of February.”

Patricia Murphy said however that people did not have to wait until then to make sure they are registered and can telephone the helpline to check now on 08004320712.

Those who need to register can do so by downloading a form from the website www.eoni.org.uk or by calling into the office at 20A Queen Street in Derry.

“The final date to get on the Register in time for the election is February 14 at 5pm,” Ms Murphy advised.

Patricia Murphy said that the Electoral team locally were now busy getting ready for the March 2 vote in Foyle and East Derry, but said that they were well prepared in advance.

“As soon as an election is over we get the stationery organised for the next one,” she said.

At the last Assembly election in 2016 there were 71,759 people in Derry eligible to vote, 40,187 of whom voted, resulting in a turnout of 56%.

During that election the MLAs elected for Foyle were Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness and Raymond McCartney, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and his party colleague Mark H Durkan, People Before Profit’s Eamonn McCann and the DUP’s Gary Middleton.

In East Derry there were 68,600 eligible and 34,848 votes polled (50.79% turnout).

The MLAs elected in 2016 for East Derry were Sinn Fein’s Caoimhe Archibald, the SDLP’s Gerry Mullan, Independent Unionist Claire Sugden, the DUP’s George Robinson, Maurice Bradley and Adrian McQuillan.

Canvassing is already under way across the north west by candidates and political parties across the Foyle and East Derry constituencies ahead of the election on Thursday, March 2.