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Sinn Fein deny gearing up for new election with voter clinics

By Allan Preston

Sinn Fein have denied preparing for another election after advertising voter registration clinics for next month.

A poster with the slogan "know the power of your vote" showing seven clinics taking place between April 4 and April 7 was shared on some of the party's official social media pages yesterday.

A spokesperson said the clinics were routine and insisted the last thing the party wanted was another election.

"Sinn Fein is committed to seeing the restoration of political institutions that deliver for everyone on the basis of equality and respect," they said.

"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."

The spokesperson added that 60,000 voters had been taken off the electoral register at the start of this year.

"This led to high numbers of people being turned away from polling stations and being disenfranchised at the recent Assembly elections because they were not registered," they said.

"Everyone who has the right to vote should be entitled to vote. Governments have a responsibility to encourage people to exercise their vote and should look at making the process as easy as possible to ensure the maximum turnout possible."

Former Ulster Unionist MLA Ross Hussey questioned Sinn Fein's motivation in holding more clinics so soon.

"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.

He added he supported increasing voter registration and said it might be time to make voting compulsory.

Yesterday, Sinn Fein's Stormont leader, Michelle O'Neill, said the Secretary of State had no power to extend talks, insisting all that he could legally do was call another election.

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