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Time for floating voters to decide as ferry delivers ballot box to Rathlin

By Staff Reporter

Having journeyed by land and sea, the ballot box landed yesterday on Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland's remotest polling station.

The box was driven to Ballycastle by an official from the Electoral Office where it was collected by Rathlin's polling station manager Teresa McCurdy. It was then transported by ferry to our only inhabited offshore island, which is home to 140 residents.

Despite being just six miles off the Co Antrim coast, the ferry journey to Rathlin across choppy waters took 45 minutes.

The box had been due for delivery on Tuesday, but the crossing had to be cancelled because of bad weather. It will be returned to the mainland this evening for collection at Ballycastle after the island's final vote is cast.

A helicopter will collect the box from Rathlin should the weather make crossing by sea too hazardous. "The helicopter is on standby but that would be very last resort. It would be very expensive to have to use the helicopter. I think that has only ever had to be done once," said Ms McCurdy.

A total of 99 islanders have registered to vote in the Assembly election.

There was a notable absence of election posters or leaflets on the island, and Ms McCurdy said officials from just one political party visited as part of its campaign trail.

However, she said a high turnout was expected.

"We had a 90% turnout for the referendum and I am expecting another high turnout this time," she said.

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