Belfast Telegraph

Change to voting law may help vulnerable

By Michael McHugh

Vulnerable people in Northern Ireland, including well-known members of the security forces, may be able to vote anonymously without the risk of being traced via the electoral register under fresh proposals, it has been disclosed.

About 2,500 individuals could be eligible for secrecy in time for next year's European elections. There are concerns they may be endangered if details like home addresses remained publicly accessible, the Government said.

Northern Ireland Office (NIO) minister Mike Penning said: "It's important that this protection is balanced against the need to ensure transparency in the electoral process and retain protection against electoral fraud."

The law would permit anonymous registration for five years. Those covered would vote by post.

The Government expects the legislation to come into force by next June, applying to polls to the UK parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly, European parliament and local councils.

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