Northern Ireland news

Chief electoral officer assures public that postal and proxy vote application process is 'robust'

Chief electoral officer Virginia McVea

THE chief electoral officer has moved to assure the public that the system for assessing postal and proxy votes is "robust".

Virginia McVea was speaking after East Derry MP Gregory Campbell said analysis of the postal and proxy voting figures for the last two general elections highlighted "some disturbing trends".

The DUP representative said there had also been a surge in applications for proxy votes at the last Stormont election in 2017.

He said the average number of proxy votes in the 2017 general election in seats where Sinn Féin topped the poll was 23.5 per 1000 ballots, whereas in seats in which the party did not fare as well, the figure was 7.8 per 1000 ballots.

 

"There is no logical explanation for the huge disparity in application rates across Northern Ireland," Mr Campbell said.

"I have yet to hear any explanation as to why the number of proxy votes cast in Foyle at the last election was 27.8 per 1000 ballots, where the seat was won by 169 votes and the average for all other seats where Sinn Féin were not in contention was 7.8 – an almost four-fold differential defies a rational explanation."

 

Ms McVea said: "I would assure the public of the robust scrutiny of all absent vote applications."

Applications for postal and proxy votes closed on Wednesday and are currently being processed by the Electoral Office.

"If anyone has any cause for concern they should contact me with the relevant information," Ms McVea said.

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