Northern Ireland news

Voters go to the polls for council elections

A total of 819 candidates are standing in the hope of securing one of 462 seats

VOTERS go to the polls today to elect representatives to Northern Ireland's 11 councils.

A total of 819 candidates are standing in the hope of securing one of 462 seats.

There are 1,463 polling stations, all of which open at 7 am and close at 10 pm.

The total eligible electorate is 1,305,553.

The election, the first local government poll since 2014, will be conducted under the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system – a form of proportional representation that enables surplus votes to be transferred to other candidates.

Voters are asked to mark their ballot papers in order of preference beginning with number 1 and they can vote for as few or as many candidates as they like.

It is not necessary to bring a polling card with you to vote but you must produce photographic identification such as a driving licence, passport, electoral identity card, or Translink SmartPass.

Anybody who arrives at the polling station before it closes and is still waiting at 10pm will be able to vote.

Counting begins at 8am tomorrow and the first results are expected to be announced in the afternoon. The final results are not expected before Saturday, with each council posting results on their own website.

Belfast City Council has 60 seats, while Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council have 41.

The remaining eight councils have 40 seats.

Voters are not permitted to take photographs inside the polling station.

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