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'Inaccurate' voting lists set to get an overhaul

HUNDREDS of thousands of voter registration forms are to be sent to local authorities in an effort to update electoral lists.

It comes following concerns that the official register is inaccurate in some areas, with one estimation stating it could be out by up to 450,000 voters.

The Department of the Environment is seeking to hire a company to print 862,350 registration forms and distribute them to 33 local councils.

"Each local authority is responsible for maintaining the register in its own area," a spokesman for the department told the Herald.

"You're going to have people who have moved from one constituency to another, from Cork to Dublin for example."

The forms relate to the European and local elections which are to be held in 2014.

"If somebody moves, they are taken off one register and moved to another. It is to make sure people are registered where they live. It's quite a sizeable piece of work," the spokesman said.

However, the department would not reveal how much it intends paying for the work.

"The thing there is to get value for money. If you order them in bulk, you would get a better deal on it," the spokesman told the Herald.

A notice has been published on the e-tenders website inviting tenders from companies interested in fulfiling the print and distribution contract.

Before the last General Election, Fine Gael's Phil Hogan branded the register "catastrophically" inaccurate.

"The whole system is disastrous. It needs to be taken off the hands of the local authorities and given to a national body to run properly," he said.

But as environment minister, he has yet to follow up on his own proposal.

In 2006, the register was distorted by up to 20pc, investigations showed.

comurphy@herald.ie