The right to vote is a right that has been fought for over many years. In Northern Ireland we exercise this right in the usual way of attending a polling station near to our homes, providing Identification to ensure that we are entitled to the vote (why this is not introduced throughout the UK is anyone’s guess), marking our ballot paper which is issued there, and place it in the ballot box.
Under the draft polling place scheme that is being proposed by the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland for the constituency of North Antrim, the people of the island of Rathlin will be forced to travel to Ballycastle.
In today’s Belfast Telegraph, Sinn Féin’s Cara McShane claims that this is
undemocratic and blatant discrimination
Whilst I am not convinced that it is blatant discrimination, it is certainly not very democratic. Liberal Democrats cherish the right to vote, and the democracy that is brought about by it. That is why we are fighting for Fairer Votes in elections to Parliament at Westminster.
Unless the postal vote rules are changed, then the people of Rathlin will be forced to travel off their island to make their vote heard. I call on Douglas Bain, Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland to change this plan and restore the ballot box to Rathlin Island.