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Wicklow Council tells woman she can't vote today due to an 'administrative error'

The woman sent in all relevant documents by the deadline, but the council said she could not be added to the supplementary register.

Image: Sam Boal

WICKLOW COUNTY COUNCIL has acknowledged that an “administrative error” resulted in a woman being unable to vote today.

The woman submitted all the relevant documentation to the local authority in order to be added to the supplementary register. She sent all correspondence by the deadline, however, she never received her supplementary polling card in the post.

When an election or referendum has been announced, there is a cut-off date after which you cannot be registered in time to vote. In order to be added to the supplement to the Register of Electors all forms had to be received by the local authority by Tuesday 8 May 2018.

In this case, the deadline was met by the person involved.

‘Extensive search’

After contacting the council to ask what had happened, the local authority said it carried out an “extensive search of emails, forms and correspondence” relating to her case.

In a letter to the constituent, Wicklow County Council stated:

We acknowledge that you did in fact submit an application to be included on the Supplement of the Register of Electors.
However, due to an administrative error your RFA3 form was overlooked and you have not been included to the Supplement and will be unable to vote in the upcoming referendum.

The letter goes on to say the supplementary register had been finalised and polling cards had been issued to voters.

“Unfortunately, it is not possible to add you to the supplement at this point and I deeply regret this error,” said the letter.

It goes on to say she will be added to the 2019/2020 register.

Screenshot 2018-05-24 at 15.49.12 - Edited

The woman is understood to be extremely disappointed and angry that despite following the guidelines, and sending all relevant documents to the council on time and within the deadline, she will be unable to exercise her right to vote today.

‘Admin error’

Fianna Fáil’s Stephen Donnelly, who has been in contact with the woman impacted by the administrative error told TheJournal.ie that the actions of the council were totally unacceptable.

What has happened is outrageous. I contacted the council on this constituent’s behalf last week. There should be plenty of time to put her on the supplemental register. To be clear, I have no doubt but that the returning officer and the council are applying the law as they must. But it is crystal clear that we must change the law.
Our vote is the most important democratic power each citizen has – it cannot be permissible for that to be taken from us due to administrative error.
I will be discussing legislative changes with Fianna Fáil and government as soon as the referendum is over.

TheJournal.ie did contact Wicklow County Council for comment, however, no reply was received by the time of publication.

An additional 118,389 people have been added to the supplementary register ahead of today’s referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

This is a huge increase on the number added ahead of the same-sex marriage referendum in 2015 when almost 66,000 people were added to the register.

Overall, more than 3.2 million people are now registered to vote in tomorrow’s referendum.

The Department of Housing and Local Government has given a breakdown of the numbers added in the 31 city and county councils.

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