Accuracy of the voting register called into question

Review of roll and census by expert suggests figure overstated by almost 500,000 people

A Department of the Environment spokesman said it would not accept the suggestion that there are massive inaccuracies in the register. Photograph: Getty Images

A Department of the Environment spokesman said it would not accept the suggestion that there are massive inaccuracies in the register. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The Department of Environment has said it does not accept a suggestion that almost half a million people too many are registered to vote.

A study of the electoral register and the latest census figures on population conducted by a media election analyst suggested the register overstated the people entitled to vote by 488,000.

Newstalk’s Odran Flynn conducted the research which showed a discrepancy between eligible voters in the last census – 3,023,025 Irish or British citizens aged 18 years or over – and the number of voting cards issued in the May 2015 referendums.

He said despite the fact that only Irish citizens were allowed vote in the referendums, a total of 3,221,681 cards were issued.

Mr Flynn said the 200,000 figure did not include British citizens living in the State (who can vote in the general election) nor did it include those who failed to register. When all those factors were taken into account the figure was closer to 500,000, he said.

Mr Flynn said that based on the 2011 general election figures, the worst affected constituencies were Wexford, Cavan-Monaghan and Mayo, all of which were in excess of 20,000 overstated.

Inaccuracies

However, a spokesman for the department said it would not accept the suggestion that there are massive inaccuracies in the register. It said the report suggested that inconsistency across local authority areas opens up the possibility of some areas under and others overrepresented.

“However this suggestion does not seem to take into account the fact that Dáil constituencies are drawn up with reference to the population of an area at the last census (this is a constitutional requirement). They are not drawn up with reference to numbers on the register.”