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Early vote urged in ‘complex’ election

By Noel McAdam

Sinn Fein has called on the electorate in next month’s Assembly and councils polls to vote early.

The party says it is concerned people could be confused by the “most complex” election the province has ever faced.

Apart from the Stormont and local government polls, voters will be handed a third slip of paper on the AV voting system.

Staff at polling stations across the province will take three hours out from the candidates count to concentrate on the AV result — even though no regional outcomes will be announced.

A delegation from Sinn Fein, led by Junior Minister Gerry Kelly, is today meeting the Electoral Commission to discuss their concerns.

And it also plans to meet chief electoral officer Graham Shields to press for increased staffing of polling stations on May 5.

Mr Kelly said: “In May people will face the most complex elections to date in the north. We are urging maximum public awareness from the Electoral Commission and the Electoral Office to prepare and fully inform voters of the complexities of voting .

“The fact that there are three elections on the same day — larger numbers of voters in each box — and fears that queues may see some lose their vote, means that preparation and public information is key.

“The Electoral Commission share many of our concerns. It's in everyone's interest to get to the polling station early in the day.”

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