Ballot paper gaffe and offensive graffiti

Election Diary 2014
Election Diary 2014

NI21 blames officials for ballot paper gaffe

NI21 leader Basil McCrea has blamed electoral officials for his party’s name being left off some ballot papers.

Voters in the Ballymena and Lisburn areas will have the phrase ‘Aspire to Better’ beside the candidate’s name, rather than the party name.

Mr McCrea told the News Letter: “The two deputy returning officers told us that we were not allowed to use NI21. They were wrong and they accept that they were wrong. We can’t change it in time but we went in to register NI21 and because the box is not clear – it says description – had we put nothing in, it would have been our party name but we weren’t allowed to put our party name in.

“If you left it blank it [becomes] your party name; if you put your party name in you can’t use it because it’s not registered as a description.”

Mr McCrea said that he had spoken to the Electoral Commission who said it was too late to be changed but other candidates had written NI21 on the form and, after his approval, it was accepted by the Electoral Office.

However, the party symbol – which includes its name – will be on the ballot papers. Mr McCrea said he was “annoyed” but added: “We can live with it.”

Reilly: I’ll pay to remove graffiti

UKIP’s European election candidate has offered to pay to remove offensive graffiti about himself.

The slogan, painted on a gable wall near the police station in Kilkeel which also featured pro-IRA messages, said ‘Henry Reily [sic] is a ****’.

The local councillor said that he was used to the “rough and tumble of politics” but it had really offended his wife and young daughter. Mr Reilly said that his name had been similarly misspelt on graffiti at a republican bonfire: “I’d even pay to get it painted over myself because my name’s on it – not for my sake but for the sake of the poor property owner or tenant.”

The name Kelly need not deter unionists: Kelly

A unionist council candidate in Cookstown has said that he does not believe the name Kelly will put off unionist voters.

Yesterday the News Letter reported the comments of independent Magherafelt candidate Mick Kelly who said that he hoped his “Catholic name” would not put off unionist voters, who he urged to read his manifesto.

After reading that, another candidate called Kelly got in touch to say that he did not believe the candidate’s name would be an issue.

Robert Kelly, who was a UUP councillor for three years until being recently deselected, said he did not believe it would be an issue: “As far as names are concerned, I think that if people realise the work you do on the ground for them, names should really be irrelevant. I’ve been working across the community and I don’t find it a problem.

“Maybe other people would – and especially when the ballot papers have two Kellys on them – so I understand that he might have a problem there.

“But I’m standing as an independent unionist and my principles will not be wavering.”