Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Most voters back electoral process - research

The overwhelming number of voters have confidence in the electoral process in Northern Ireland, according to research published today.

The overwhelming number of voters have confidence in the electoral process in Northern Ireland, according to research published today.

A survey carried out on the handling of the European Parliamentary elections in June found that more than three-quarters of voters were not concerned about fraud.

The Electoral Commission today published its report on the administration of the election and welcomed its positive findings.

The watchdog said the research conducted for its report on the election showed there were high levels of confidence in the electoral process among voters.

Head of the Electoral Commission's Northern Ireland office Seamus Magee said: "I'm pleased to see that voters in Northern Ireland continue to report high levels of confidence in the electoral system.

"The Electoral Commission is currently working with the Chief Electoral Officer to ensure plans are in place for the next UK parliamentary election and that the interests of voters are again put first."

The report showed that 95% of voters were satisfied with the help and support they received from polling station staff, while people who voted at polling stations did not report any difficulties in presenting their ID.

The research also revealed that more than 5,600 people successfully applied to be added to the electoral register during the late registration period.

The European election selected candidates for the three European Parliament seats available to Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein's Bairbre de Brun topped the poll, a first for a republican candidate in any Northern Ireland election.

Veteran Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson retained his seat after becoming the first candidate to stand on a joint ticket for the UUP and Conservatives after the parties agreed their current political pact.

The DUP's Diane Dodds took the third seat without reaching the quota after her party lost support to the hard-line Traditional Unionist Voice.

The Electoral Commission, which is an independent body set-up by government to bolster public confidence in the electoral process, concluded that the report confirmed that the elections were well administered.

But it warned that it is important that no-one involved in running elections becomes complacent, particularly in advance of the forthcoming General Election.

The Commission said the election can be called just 17 working days prior to polling day.

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