89. The mechanism of postal voting in Northern Ireland protects the secrecy and effective exercise of the right to vote when the elector is not expected to go to the polling station and for that reason applies to vote by post. The legitimate aim pursued by the specific requirements concerning postal voting is to avoid the abuses that this mechanism of voting produced in the past, and to make sure that the person who applies for the postal ballot and returns it is really the registered elector. In order to reach this aim, the Northern Ireland legislation requires the elector to use an application form provided by the electoral officer that asks for personal data, and to return the postal ballot with a declaration of identity to be checked with the information available at the electoral officer’s. This additional personal data required is a proportionate means for preventing electoral fraud, and does not obstruct the exercise of the right to vote by post.
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