Belfast Telegraph

General Election 2017: Early indications suggest turnout high at key Northern Ireland battleground

By Rebecca Black

There are early indications of a high voter turn out in one of the most hotly divided constituencies in Northern Ireland this polling day.

A Belfast Telegraph survey of nine polling stations across East Belfast has revealed there was an average voter turn out of 16.7% by noon on Thursday as the UK votes in the snap General Election.

East Belfast is set to be one of the tightest races between DUP candidate Gavin Robinson and Alliance candidate Naomi Long.

<<< Follow the count live on the Belfast Telegraph results centre >>>

The other candidates running are Hazel Legge for the Ulster Unionist Party, Georgina Milne (Green Party), Sheila Bodel (Conservatives), Mairead O’Donnell (Sinn Fein), Seamas de Faoite (SDLP) and Bobby Beck (Independent).

Of the ten polling stations visited by the Belfast Telegraph on Thursday, the highest turn out so far was 25.4% at one of the boxes at Belmont Primary School, while the lowest so far was 13% at one of the boxes at Euston Street Primary off the Castlereagh Road.

Read more: General Election 2017: The key Northern Ireland battlegrounds and expected result times

One polling station – Dee Street Community Centre – would not share its noon voter turn out with the Belfast Telegraph.

None of the candidates were at any of the 10 polling stations visited by the Belfast Telegraph this afternoon, and there were canvassers at just three of the 10 centres.

An Alliance party supporter visiting polling stations to collect turn out figures appeared hopeful, claiming that the polling stations with the largest turn outs were those that his party would tend to receive the most votes from. He indicated that he thought the turn out could be as high as 65% by the times the poll close at 10pm tonight – even higher than the 63% turn out in the constituency in March at the Assembly election.

At this stage voter turn out is higher at polling stations in more affluent areas such as Belmont, and lower in some of the more working class areas such as Bloomfield.

Turn out percentages at noon

St Matthew’s PS: 14.5%

Victoria Park PS: 15.5%

Inverary Community Centre: 18.8%

Dundela Infants School: 16.9%

St Colmcille’s Parish Hall: 17.8%

Belmont Primary School: 23.2%

Greenwood Primary School: 16.8%

Elmgrove Primary School: 13.9%

Euston Street Primary School: 13%

How to keep up to date: You can follow all the count results as they happen with The Belfast Telegraph. We'll have up-to-the minute coverage of all the drama and the results as the ballots are counted through the night across the UK and we'll have a team of reporters at each of the count centres across Northern Ireland. As well as a brand new graphics system we'll bring you the key statistics and trends on how each of the parties fared and also the best analysis and reports for each of the 18 constituencies.

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