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Registering to vote needs to be simplified

Published 09/06/2016

If like me you decide to register to vote at the last minute, here is a cautionary tale.

Rightly, the Electoral Office requires proof of name and birth, of nationality and address, and of a National Insurance number. There are many documents acceptable for all but the latter.

Here they require one of the following: a National Insurance card, an HMRC notice of coding or tax credit letter, or a letter from the National Insurance contributions office.

Someone needs to tell them the evidence list for NI numbers needs sorting.

National Insurance cards are no longer issued; very few PAYE employees receive notices of coding or tax credits; employers do. And a requested letter from the National Insurance contributions office takes 10 days to arrive.

Other documentation bearing your NI number - eg. P60, P45, payslips, letters from employers, etc - are not permitted as evidence.

So, to paraphrase an old electoral dictum, register early and register often to renew your registration. But prepare well in advance - something that all of the registration awareness publicity omits to mention.

DISGRUNTLED AND DISENFRANCHISED VOTER

Moira, Co Down

Belfast Telegraph

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