NI voters go to the polls

NI voters go to the polls

A polling stationImage copyright
Press Eye

Image caption

Polling stations open at 07:00 BST and will close at 22:00 GMT

Voters in Northern Ireland go to the polls on Thursday for the second time in 10 months.

The 2017 Assembly Election was called after the resignation of former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Polling stations open at 07:00 BST and will close at 22:00 GMT. Two hundred and twenty-eight candidates are competing for 90 seats across Northern Ireland’s 18 constituencies.

Counting in the election will begin on Friday morning.

This assembly election has seen one significant change from previous ones.

There will be a reduction in assembly members from 108 to 90.

Northern Ireland’s 18 constituencies will return five MLAs each, not six as was the case beforehand.

The number of MLAs has been cut in order to reduce the cost of politics.

Forty-eight fewer candidates are standing in this election than in May last year.

Media captionHow does the STV system work to elect MLAs in Northern Ireland?

In Northern Ireland, the government must be run by Irish nationalists and unionists together.

When all of the 90 seats have been filled, the two biggest unionist and nationalist parties will get together to try to form a new government.

Elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly use a form of proportional representation called the Single Transferable Vote (STV).

Voters rank candidates in numerical preference.

Image copyright
PA

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In order to vote, voters must be over 18 and be registered on the electoral register

Candidates are then elected according to the share of the vote they receive. You can read an in-depth guide to the system here.

In order to vote, voters must be over 18 and be registered on the electoral register.

Polling cards are not required to vote but you must bring some form of photographic identification.

A total of 1,254,709 will be eligible to vote in Thursday’s election.

The BBC News NI website will carry the latest election results and analysis on Friday.

There will also be special election programmes running on BBC Radio Ulster and BBC NI television throughout the day.

NI voters go to the polls}

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