Belfast Telegraph

General Election 2019

General Election: High turnout reported as polls close across Northern Ireland public

By Andrew Madden and PA

High turnout figures have been reported across Northern Ireland, as polls have closed in the 2019 General Election.

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A total of 1,343 polling stations closed at 10pm, after voters had their say on who will be returned to 18 Westminster seats.

There are 102 candidates standing in the election and just over 1.2m eligible to vote.

Compared to the 2017 General Election, this time round the eligible electorate has increased across all 18 constituencies.

There was an electorate of 1,242,698 eligible voters in Northern Ireland in the 2017 poll and 1,293,971 this year - an increase of just over 4%.

The highest increases in voter numbers have been seen in some of the most hotly contested seats, with South Belfast, North Belfast and Foyle all registering an increased electorate of more than 5%.

Across the various polling stations, voters took to social media to report the published turnout figures. Stations post the number of voters who have attended at three times throughout the course of the day at noon, 5pm and at 9pm.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds at Seaview Church Hall polling station on the Shore Road in Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds at Seaview Church Hall polling station on the Shore Road in Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Sinn Féin Vice President Michelle O'Neill MLA casts her vote in the Westminster election at St. Patrick's Primary Clonoe, Co. Tyrone. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
SDLP candidate for South Belfast Claire Hanna casts her vote on the Ormeau Road on Thursday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Alliance Leader and East Belfast candidate Naomi Long casts her vote at St Colmcille's Parish Church on the Upper Newtonards Road Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Sinn Fein’s Paul Maskey leaves a polling station at St Teresa’s in West Belfast as voting got under way in the general election. Photo by Peter Morrison
DUP leader Arlene Foster casts her vote in the General Election on December 12, 2019 in Enniskillen.
Ulster Unionist Party leader Steve Aiken arrives at Upper Ballyboley Primary School polling station with his wife Beth to cast their votes. PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 12/12/2019
Sinn Fein candidate for North Belfast John Finucane and his mother Geraldine Finucane leaving the polling station at St Peter's Church in North Belfast after casting their votes. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday December 12, 2019.

While many reported turnout was high, the true figure, however, will not be known until all the boxes have been opened at the counting centres after polls close.

Counting takes place overnight, with the first result expected after 1am. However, some results may not be declared until after 4am.

Northern Ireland's political leaders made one last push for support as they cast their own ballots in their respective constituencies.

DUP leader Arlene Foster voted in Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh, a constituency where she is supporting a rival unionist - the UUP's Tom Elliott - as part of pro-Union link-up to try to unseat Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill cast her ballot 40 miles away in her home village of Clonoe in Co Tyrone.

She called in to have a chat with party workers who have based themselves in a caravan outside the polling station.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood was accompanied by wife Rachael and their children Maya and Rosa as he voted in Londonderry.

While Mr Eastwood's party has stood aside to help a Sinn Fein candidate in North Belfast - a move that has been reciprocated by Sinn Fein in South Belfast - the parties are going head-to-head in Derry in what is set to be a close run battle for the Foyle seat.

Elsewhere, Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken arrived at Upper Ballyboley Primary School in East Antrim to cast his ballot along with wife Beth.

Alliance leader Naomi Long voted shortly afterwards in East Belfast.

Mrs Long, accompanied by her husband Michael, is hoping for a repeat of her famous victory in 2010 when she dethroned Stormont's then-first minister Peter Robinson.

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