FERMANAGH and South Tyrone’s reputation for sky-high electoral turnout looks set to continue after the number of eligible voters registered was revealed to be over 91% , above the average in the North (88.28%).
And the figure for Fermanagh alone is a staggering 94% with some wards actually recording a return of over 100% because the figures are taken from estimates made in 2011.
In Florencecourt and Kinawley the rate for the percentage of eligible electorate registered is 102.35% while in the electoral wards of Donagh and Tempo the rates are 101.9% and 101.26% respectively.
Another ward defying logic is Brookeborough, with a percentage of 100.82%. Despite the fact Fermanagh clearly is an area with a history of high electoral turnout the reason for these figures is because they are derived from the potential eligible electorate as per the census of 2011.
In contrast, the lowest numbers to register are in the Enniskillen area and north Fermanagh.
The ward with the lowest percentage of eligible voters registered is Portora with 80.55%, followed by Irvinestown with 82.45%.
The area in Fermanagh with the lowest percentage of eligible voters registered is Enniskillen with the four wards Portora, Devenish (86.48), Erne (84.96) and Castlecoole (84.21) making up the bottom five.
Enniskillen councillor Frank Britton was at a loss to explain why the Enniskillen figures are lower than the rest of Fermanagh.
“I’m baffled, why Enniskillen is lower than other parts of the county I can’t explain.
“I believe the electoral office has to continue its efforts to get everyone registered, it is not enough to say only 84%, 85% of people are registered for Enniskillen. It is obvious the electoral office has not put as much effort into Enniskillen as other parts of the county.”
Mr Britton believes that these figures will affect the electoral turnout and urged both the electoral office and those who have not registered to make sure they don’t lose their vote.
“It is in the people’s interests to register as for example, if they are looking for loans or financial services one of the criteria used by banks very often is they will ask you if you are on the electoral register.”
“It really is though about the electoral office, they need to redouble their efforts as it may be that for valid reasons people were not able to contact them. They must go back to these people and get them registered.
“A full electoral process, including registration and voting is a prerequisite to a healthy democracy. You can’t have a say in how places are run without using your vote supplied.”
According to The Electoral Office 12% of eligible voters in the North are not on the new register. Anyone who is not registered, or who needs to update their details, can do so at any time by downloading a registration form from www.eoni.org.uk or by contacting the office helpline on 0800 4320 712. The next local government elections are for the shadow council of the new amalgamated Omagh and Fermanagh council in 2014.
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