Reported in the News Letter on January 17, 1929: Every qualified unionist should register to vote, says report

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The general political situation in Northern Ireland and the Work of the Government are reviewed in the report of the Ulster Unionist Council for 1928, which will be submitted at the annual meeting to be held in Belfast tomorrow.

“The registration of voters,” it is states, “is a matter of prime importance.

“Though the boundary between the North and South has been definitely settled, and the Northern Government is in full operation, the loyalist position is not so strong and powerful that it can with safety be neglected.

“The loss of seven seats might mean the overthrow of the Unionist Government and the consequent merging of the whole of Ulster in the Irish Free State. The possibility of such a calamity cannot be regarded lightly, and what better way can it be prevented than by attending to the register and ensuring that every qualified Unionist has a vote?

“Loyalists will note with pleasure that the Government intends to abolish Proportional Representation before the next general election in Northern Ireland. Such a system of voting was complicated, cumbersome, and expensive, and as it involved unwieldy constituencies the electors could not maintain that close relationship with their representatives which is so desirable. With single-member divisions and the direct vote the people will be better able to express their wishes.”

The extension of the franchise by giving votes to women of 21 years of age and over has added some 130,000 names to the register. On the whole the Unionist position is satisfactory, and, if divisions and differences are avoided, Loyalists may look forward to a further period of peace and good government.

“Our political opponents,” the report goes on, “have been exceedingly active... they are still pursuing their policy of trying to merge the whole of Ulster in the Irish Free State.”