Sinn Féin spokesperson for Youth Affairs Senator Fintan Warfield has launched a new party policy calling for reform of the electoral and voter registration system.

‘Enhancing Democracy’ contains a number of different initiatives that a Sinn Féin government would undertake in order to encourage and foster active electoral participation across all of society.

Senator Warfield said:

“’Enhancing Democracy’ sets out how we believe the state should engage young and first time voters, as well as radical proposals that will widen electoral participation across all of society.

“The activism of young people in recent referenda is evidence that when engaged, young people demonstrate interest in participating in the political process. This is despite the obstacles that exist, including a lack of formal education, promotion and difficulties in registering to vote.

“Sinn Féin support an electoral system that nurtures this activism and encourages democratic participation.

“We are also putting forward radical proposals that will widen electoral participation across all of society – for young people and people in the north, for the Irish abroad, for those resident here but without citizenship and to those who have never had an opportunity to vote in a Seanad election”.

Editor’s Summary:

Seven key policies of Enhancing Democracy:

· Establish a permanent electoral commission

· Simplify the registration process.

· Lower the voting age to sixteen.

· Give diaspora an opportunity to participate.

· Hold a referendum to citizens in the north to vote in presidential elections.

· Open Seanad elections to all.

· Extend the right to vote in all elections to people resident in Ireland for five years.