By Staff Reporter
SOME 63,500 Cypriots who have passed away since 2000 are still listed as voting citizens, while others who are listed as deceased make surprise appearances at polling stations on election days.
According to Demetris Demetriou, head of the elections office at the Ministry of Interior, the blunders are an example of the dire state of the civil registry.
“Ever since 2000 the civil registry was built using the elections database, which was then updated with the identification registry, but no one ever checked whether the new entrants based on ID records were alive or not,” Demetriou said.
The next step, he said, was to register the deceased by death certificate, but back then death certificates did not include a citizen’s ID card number.
“For example, a death certificate shows that in a village one Andreas Andreou has passed away. However, said village may have five or ten people with the same name and surname,” Demetriou explained. “When the civil registry was being updated, this problem came up and forced operators to either refrain from logging deaths, or logging them to an unconfirmed individual – and that is now catching up with us.”
According to Demetriou, in one particular election the elections office had ‘resurrected’ many people who were wrongly listed as deceased, and even in the recent presidential election two such instances were recorded.
“Unfortunately, the way the civil registry was created shows a current 755,147 living Greek Cypriot citizens over the age of 18,” Demetriou said.
“However, the unrealistic fact that 63,500 of these should now be over 100 years old is indicative of the problem.”