Investigation ongoing into voting in Sligo/Leitrim during 2020 General Election

Gardai have confirmed there is an ongoing investigation into alleged electoral fraud in the Sligo-Leitrim constituency arising from the 2020 general election.

It follows an investigation following the 2019 local elections into similar allegations arising from voting in the Ballymote-Tubbercurry electoral area of County Sligo.

It’s understood the investigation into allegations concerning both the last general and local elections is focusing on postal votes cast.

Ocean FM News understands the investigation into the general election voting is a follow-on from that into the local election.

In the general election of 2020, postal ballots accounted for under a thousand of the almost 61,000 votes cast in Sligo-Leitrim.

But the number of postal ballots caught the eye of observers as it showed an increase of more than 30% compared to the previous general election in 2016.

In 2020, 750 postal votes were cast in Sligo/Leitrim, with FF getting 36%, SF 23%, FG 16%, with Independent and others getting 23%, according to tally figures at the time.

In relation to the investigation into the alleged fraud in the 2019 LOCAL elections, an update was sought last September by Independent Socialist Councillor Declan Bree.

It’s understood a file was being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions, with directions awaited on how to proceed in that case.

That investigation followed a complaint from the Fine Gael director of elections.

People unable to go in person to vote at a polling station due to physical illness or disability can apply for inclusion in the postal voters list.

All such applicants must declare they are ordinarily resident at a specific address and provide a medical certificate signed and stamped by a doctor certifying that the applicant has a stated illness or disability and is unable to go to the polling station.

At the time, the then Fine Gael General Secretary Tom Curran gave an example on the North West Today Show of what had led to his party’s complaint.

The latest revelations mean postal voting in both the last local and general elections in the Sligo-Leitrim area are now under microscope.

Apart from confirming that an investigation is ongoing, Gardai have told Ocean FM News this morning that no further information is available at this time.