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No election, but DUP and Sinn Fein push voter registration

By Allan Preston

The DUP and Sinn Fein insist they are not mobilising for another election despite both parties advertising voting clinics this month.

The clinics have been announced as pressure remains on Secretary of State James Brokenshire to either call a new Assembly election or restore direct rule if no agreement is reached at Stormont.

The DUP is holding at least one voting clinic in Portadown on April 20, with Sinn Fein holding seven events from April 4-7.

In January this year the Electoral Office confirmed that 60,443 names had been taken off the register.

For the snap election on March 2, many people were surprised to discover they were not eligible to cast their vote.

Upper Bann DUP MLA Jonathan Buckley said he had been contacted by many people who wanted to make sure they were signed up to vote.

"I am very happy to respond to that demand and ensure that everyone can have their voice heard at the ballot box," he said.

He added that the DUP had not set down any red lines for the establishment of an Executive.

"We want to see devolution restored," he said.

"That doesn't require another election, just a willingness by parties to be flexible and a real desire to seek agreement."

Earlier this week Sinn Fein told the Belfast Telegraph holding another election was the last thing the party wanted, and that the voter clinics were routine exercises.

"Electoral registration is an ongoing part of Sinn Fein's work in order to make sure that everyone who has the right to vote has the ability to exercise their democratic right," it said.

At the time, former Ulster Unionist MLA Ross Hussey questioned Sinn Fein's motivation in holding more clinics so soon after the March 2 poll.

"I'm not suggesting that Sinn Fein are definitely going for an election, but the fact that they are going all out for voter registration should ignite a spark in the unionist psyche," he said on his Facebook page.

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