Belfast Telegraph

Local Election 2019

Northern Ireland local election 2019: What you need to know

Voting begins across Northern Ireland in the local council elections. Voters pictured at the polling station at Newtownbreda Baptist Church in south Belfast.
Voting begins across Northern Ireland in the local council elections. Voters pictured at the polling station at Newtownbreda Baptist Church in south Belfast.
Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

Northern Ireland goes to the polls today to elect 462 councillors across 11 districts.

A total of 819 candidates are standing.

All 1,463 polling stations will be open from 7am until 10pm. No one will be allowed to enter a polling station after the doors close at 10pm, although anyone in the queue to vote by that time will still be eligible to cast their ballot.

Candidates are elected by single transferable vote.

People are asked to rank them by marking the number 1, 2, 3 and so on next to the names on the ballot paper in order of preference.

Voters can number as few or as many candidates as they like.

Not every candidate has to be ranked, and you can select a single candidate with the number 1 if desired.

Everyone eligible to vote should have received a polling card through the post. This is for information purposes only. Anyone intending to vote must bring photographic identification with them to their nearest polling station.

The identity document does not need to be current but the photograph must be a good enough likeness to allow polling station staff to confirm your identity.

The following documents are all accepted as ID: UK, Irish or EEA driving licence (photographic part; provisional accepted); UK, Irish or EU passport; Electoral Identity Card; Translink Senior SmartPass; Translink 60+ SmartPass; Translink War Disabled SmartPass; Translink Blind Person's SmartPass.

Anyone failing to bring one of these documents with them will be ineligible to vote at that time.

There are strict rules forbidding any photographs to be taken inside the polling station, and while children under 18 may accompany voters to the polling station, staff can limit the number of under 18s if voting is being impeded.

Polling staff will be on hand at all stations if anyone needs any assistance.

Counting begins at 8am on Friday and it is expected most council areas will complete their counts on Friday.

The remainder of the counting should be completed on Saturday morning.

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