Belfast Telegraph

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

Stay with the Belfast Telegraph for all the results as they happen through the night

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

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).

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

Candidate's wedding via the ballot box

An Northern Ireland election candidate who cast her vote in her wedding dress - spent the last few days recovering in hospital after undergoing surgery on her hand following a "nasty" dog bite.

West Belfast hopeful Sorcha Eastwood (31) was left speechless on April 18 when Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election for her big day - but promised to make the two-minute trip from St Patrick's Church in Lisburn to Brownlee Primary School to cast her ballot.

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

Roof collapse

Earlier, a roof collapsed at a Northern Ireland polling station.

It happened at the Holy Trinity and St Silas church hall in north Belfast.

Northern Ireland's chief electoral officer Virginia McVeigh told the BBC polling station staff were able to quickly move the ballot boxes to a minor hall and the incident has not affected Thursday's vote at the location.

"As an indicator of the rapid response and the pragmatism of our teams and all of the people who help us from the general public, they've been able to move into a minor hall," she said.

"That's the way people operate and I'm very grateful for the problem-solving approach that they take."

Polls open

More than 3,000 candidates are battling it out for 650 seats across the UK.

Polling is under way in Northern Ireland as voters cast a ballot for the seventh time in three years. There are 18 seats with 109 candidates vying for an 'X' to secure a seat.

In the 2015 general election, the DUP won eight seats, Sinn Fein four, the SDLP three, the UUP two, with one independent unionist returned.

Across Northern Ireland there are 619 polling stations and 1,380 ballot boxes. They are open between 7am and 10pm and if you are in the queue to vote by closing time, you will be allowed to cast a vote.

Come 10pm on Thursday, the 1,380 ballot boxes will be transported to counting centres at the Titanic exhibition centre, Eikon centre in Lisburn, and the leisures centres at Bangor, Foyle, Ballymena, Omagh and Newtownabbey.

An exit poll - based on 144 polling stations across the UK - will be published at 10pm and give the first indication of how the results night might pan out.

Houghton & Sunderland South is expected to be the first to declare at 11pm.

Northern Ireland predicted result times:

1am: North Antrim, Foyle

1.30am: Lagan Valley, Tyrone West, Upper Bann

2am: Antrim East, Belfast East, Belfast North, Belfast South, Belfast West, North Down, Strangford

2.15am: South Antrim

3am: Londonderry East

3.30am: Newry & Armagh, Mid Ulster, South Down

5am: Fermanagh and South Tyrone

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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