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Polling cards to be sent to 29,000 new voters after council blunder

An out of date file was sent to the printers by mistake. It’s estimated the error will cost around €20,000 to rectify.

Votes are counted during the Children's Rights Referendum at citywest last year
Votes are counted during the Children's Rights Referendum at citywest last year
Image: Photocall Ireland

SOME 29,000 RECENTLY-registered voters in Dublin can expect to receive their polling cards in the post today and tomorrow after a massive error by the City Council.

The screw up, which is being put down to ‘human error’, resulted in an out-of-date database being sent to the printer.

As a result, polling cards were sent to the wrong addresses, some voters were told to go to the wrong polling stations, and many deceased people also received cards.

Executive Manager at Dublin City Council Vincent Norton said the problem was first brought to the attention of staff after an increase in phone calls from members of the public.

“People were saying ‘these people have polling cards, these people haven’t’ — staff found it most unusual,” Norton told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

He said the council had been “making great efforts” to resolve the problem, and that he was “confident” it had now been sorted.

Around 29,000 new voters were missed as a result of a 2011 database of registered voters being used, instead of a 2013 file.

Norton also apologised to the relatives of deceased votes who received cards.

“That’s why I’m here, to personally and on behalf of the City Council to apologise unreservedly,” Norton said.

“In one sense it’s the worst nightmare that can happen to us.”

Asked whether council staff would contact the relatives directly, he said they hadn’t yet as they didn’t want to “prolong the agony”. He said that the priority up till this morning had been to rectify the problem regarding voters who were missed out, but added that they would now look again at whether to call the relatives.

Norton said that the problem was likely to cost the council around €20,000, and confirmed that a review of operations would be carried out as a result.

In addition to new voters, those who moved house were also affected by the problem.

In a press release issued last night, the council reminded people that a polling card wasn’t essential for voters: “We want to remind Voters that they should bring a valid form of identification to the Polling Station as usual. A Passport, Driver’s Licence, Garda ID Card, Student ID or Social Welfare Card will suffice in this regard.”

Read: Dublin City Council apologises for error that saw dead people sent Polling Cards

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