Northern Ireland turnout for European election down
THE turnout in this year's European election in Northern Ireland fell by more than six per cent.
The Electoral Office last night said 45.14 per cent of the population in the north went to the polls on Thursday.
Turnout at the last European poll in 2014 was almost 52 per cent, however, that coincided with a local government election.
A total of eleven candidates are competing for three seats elected from a single constituency covering all of Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland and Britain had not been scheduled to hold European elections but the decision to delay Brexit made it necessary to elect MEPs.
The counting of votes will take place at the Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt, Co Derry on Monday after all elections across the EU have been completed.
The first results from Northern Ireland are expected on Monday afternoon though it could be as late as Tuesday before the winner of the third and final seat is declared.
The DUP's Diane Dodds and Sinn Féin's Martina Anderson are expected to be returned comfortably. Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy, Alliance leader Naomi Long, and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood are all vying for the third seat.
Meanwhile, voters in the Republic yesterday went to the polls to vote in both the local government elections and the European election. Voters were also voting in a referendum easing restrictions on divorce.
Among the candidates standing in the latter is former SDLP leader Mark Durkan who is one of two Fine Gael candidates contesting the Dublin constituency.