Northern Ireland

NI electoral register: Just over 88% of eligible voters on new list

Voter casting ballot in election
Image caption Voters must be included on the new electoral register to cast a vote in upcoming elections

Just over 88% of people who are eligible to vote in Northern Ireland have been included on the latest electoral register.

The new register, published on Monday, contains the details of 1,241,079 voters.

It follows a recent canvass during which all voters were asked to confirm details such as their name, address, age and eligibility to cast a vote.

The updated list includes 47,196 new registrants.

Among that number were almost 1,000 people who are currently aged 17.

'Highest number'

Those teenagers will become eligible to vote for the first time in next year's European and local government elections.

The constituency that has registered the highest number of eligible voters is Newry and Armagh, where the figure is 92.8%.

The lowest is Belfast South where only 70.5% of eligible voters are on the new list.

Northern Ireland's chief electoral officer, Graham Shields, said the recent canvass, which cost about £3m, had been "very successful".

"The electoral register in Northern Ireland is now at its most accurate and complete than ever before.

"However, there is still more work to be done and we will continue in our attempts to increase the size of the register in the run-up to next year's elections," Mr Shields added.

Between 24 August and 21 September, canvassers from the Electoral Office of Northern Ireland (EONI) hand-delivered voter registration forms to every household.

2011 census

When the deadline for completion had passed, 1,129,066 voters had returned their canvass forms.

The Electoral Office said that an additional 112,013 electors who did not return their forms "were retained on the register as a result of information confirmed from other official sources".

In total, it is estimated that 1,405,808 people are entitled to cast a vote in Northern Ireland.

That estimate is based on information drawn from the 2011 census which had to be completed by every household in the UK.

According to that figure, almost 12% of eligible voters are not on the new register.

Mr Shields said: "Anyone who is not registered, or who needs to update their details, can do so at any time by downloading a registration form from our website or by contacting our helpline on 0800 4320 712."

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