MLA raises concerns over electoral office closure proposal

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Local DUP MLA Sydney Anderson has debated a motion in the Assembly highlighting concerns regarding the proposed closure of a number of Electoral Offices including Banbridge.

Mr Anderson stated, “I along with party colleagues welcomed the opportunity to bring forward this motion regarding the proposed closure of regional electoral offices across Northern Ireland.

“This is an issue that impacts locally upon Upper Bann because one of the regional offices facing closure is located in Banbridge.

“I outlined that I am fully aware of the important role the electoral office in Banbridge plays in local democracy and political procedures providing a key link for the public when they are doing things such as voter registration and receiving and submitting postal and proxy vote applications.

“They have also carried out a range of registration and electoral ID events which have been focused on enhancing the number of people on the electoral register.

“I made clear that if the proposed closure of regional electoral offices takes place I as a political representative would be fearful that democracy could be damaged because the electoral office would simply no longer be able to play a key role in our communities.”

Moreover, I noted that there was a possibility that a significant number of staff would lose their employment.

We all want to see more people engaging with the political process and exercising their vote. By closing our regional electoral offices we will only be further hindered in our efforts to encourage voter registration and political engagement. I closed my speech by making clear my belief that if the closures take place democracy in Northern Ireland will be dealt a severe blow. Ultimately these closures cannot be allowed to happen, as no one benefits from democracy being damaged.”