Voters go to the polls for European Parliament elections
(left to right) Martina Anderson, Diane Dodds, Colum Eastwood, Danny Kennedy, Claire Bailey and Naomi Long as drawn by Irish News cartoonist Ian Knox
VOTERS across Northern Ireland go to the polls today to elect representatives to the European Parliament.
A total of eleven candidates are competing for three seats elected from a single constituency covering the entire region.
There are 614 polling stations across the north, each of which is open from 7am to 10pm.
The total eligible electorate is 1,278,951.
Following the June 2016 vote to leave the EU, the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, was not scheduled to hold elections to the European Parliament.
However, the decision to delay Article 50 makes it necessary to elect MEPs, even though their mandate may prove short-lived.
The election, the first European 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.
With elections taking place across the EU between today and Sunday, the counting of votes will not begin until 8am on Monday, with the first results expected later that day.
Voters are not permitted to take photographs inside the polling station.
European Election candidates
Jim Allister – Traditional Unionist Voice
Martina Anderson – Sinn Féin
Claire Bailey – Green Party
Amandeep Singh Bhogal – Conservative
Diane Dodds – DUP
Colum Eastwood – SDLP
Danny Kennedy – Ulster Unionist Party
Naomi Long – Alliance
Robert Hill – UKIP
Neil McCann – Independent
Jane Morrice – Independent