The returning officer for the Westmeath electorial area is proposing some changes to the electorial register, by reducing the number of polling stations from 115 to approximately 104. According to returning office Elizabeth Sharkey “The reducing of the number of polling stations will result in the saving of monies spent by the Exchequer in the employment of poll staff, reducing the number by 22 from 230 to 208.”
Ms Sharkey has suggested that the polling stations at AIT be moved. “For as long as I have been a returning office the AIT...has been used as a polling venue to cover Athlone Town East No 5 area.”
“As AIT has expanded considerably to almost university status and size it can be a difficult polling building to manage on polling day, especially with directional signage.”
In a correspondence to Athlone Town Council Ms Sharkey explained that the cost of hiring AIT has been in excess of €1,000 for four booths. She now wants to reduce the number of polling stations from four to three. By moving two booths to Cornamaddy NS at a cost of €60 and the final booth to Clonbonny NS at a cost of €200, significant savings can be made.
Councillors have until February 15 to make any comments or suggestions before a final decision of the new ballot booths is made ahead of the February printing of the Register of Electors.