Northern Ireland

Voters urged to have correct documentation for local government election

Chief Electoral Officer Sarah Ling
Chief Electoral Officer Sarah Ling

The public have been urged to ensure they have the correct documentation to enable them to vote in Thursday's local government election.

The 1,470 polling stations in 606 polling places across the north will open at 7am and remain open until 10pm.

In all, 806 candidates are contesting 462 seats across 11 council areas.

The last local government election took place in 2019.

Thursday's election is the first overseen by Sarah Ling, who replaced Virginia McVea as chief electoral officer in March.

She will be assisted by some 3,907 polling station staff.

The poll is a Single Transferable Vote election, with voters receiving one ballot paper to elect councillors in their District Electoral Area. 

Candidates should be ranked in order of preference on the ballot paper by placing a ‘1’ beside the first preference, a ‘2’ beside the second preference, and so on. 

Those with a postal vote who have yet to return it can hand it in at the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland before 10pm on Thursday. However it cannot be handed in at a polling station.

It is not necessary to bring your polling card to vote but you will require photographic identification.

Electoral Commission regional head Cahir Hughes said: "It’s important that voters have all the information they need to make sure their voice is heard at the local elections on 18 May.

"Remember to bring your ID with you to the polling station and rank the candidates in order of preference on your ballot paper using numbers. Staff at the polling station are there to help, so if you have any questions, just ask."

The count will begin at 8am on Friday when ballot boxes are opened at each of the 11 count venues.  

The specified forms of identification are:

UK, Irish or EU passport;

UK, Irish or EEA driving licence; 

Translink 60+ Smartpass;

Translink Senior Smartpass;

Translink Blind Person's Smartpass;

Translink War Disabled Smartpass;

Electoral Identity Card;

Translink Half Fare SmartPass;

biometric immigration document.

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