NI Assembly Elections 2022: Candidates, constituencies to watch, how to vote and timing of results

The politicians have spent weeks making their pitches to voters – and now it’s time for the public to have their say.

Voting will take place on Thursday at polling stations in Northern Ireland for the 2022 Stormont Assembly elections.

There are 18 constituencies with five MLAs to be elected in each and a total of 239 candidates competing in the election.

Read more:BBC NI Election Debate: Assessment of Stormont leaders’ performance in the battle for votes

Here’s a quick guide to what you need to know to use your vote on Election Day:

When are the polling stations open?

Polling stations open at 7 a.m. on Thursday and close at 10 p.m.

For registered voters, your voting card should tell you where to vote. You can also check this by going to the Electoral Office website and entering your zip code, or by clicking here.

What do you need to vote?

You must have already registered to vote and you must bring a valid photo ID. The options are:

  • A UK, Irish or EEA driving license (photographic portion). Commission licenses are also accepted
  • A UK, Irish or EU Passport or Irish Passport Card
  • An electoral identity card
  • A Translink Senior SmartPass, 60+ SmartPass, War Handicapped SmartPass or Blind SmartPass.

The identification document does not need to be current, as long as the photo allows polling station staff to confirm the holder’s identity.

How do I mark my ballot?

At the polling station you will receive a ballot with the candidates in your constituency to cast your vote.

On the ballot, you vote 1, 2, 3 and so on in the order of your preference.

So put the number ‘1’ next to your preferred candidate’s name, a ‘2’ next to your second preferred candidate and so on for as many candidates as you like.

When you are ready, put your ballot in the ballot box.

Remember you will be using a pencil – not a pen – and here’s why.

Who can I vote for?

A total of 239 candidates are participating in the elections. Here is a list of all the candidates you can choose from in your constituency.

If you can’t figure it out, take a look at the priorities of the five main parties.

What if I have Covid?

People who test positive for Covid-19 or have symptoms can still vote in polling stations.

The polling station said measures will be taken at polling stations to limit the spread of infection.

Voters are advised to wear face coverings at the polling station, use hand sanitizer upon entry, and keep their distance from staff and other people when talking to them.

Polling stations will have Plexiglas screens and hand sanitizer dispensers, and windows and doors will remain open for air circulation.

Ballot boxes, voting booths and pencils for filling out ballots will also be cleaned regularly by staff, the Electoral Bureau said.

Can I take pictures at the polling station?

While some people like to take a selfie, the answer is no.

You should not take pictures at the polling station as you could be breaking the law if you accidentally reveal how someone voted.

However, you can take all the photos outside the polling station – and you can bring your dog too.

When will the result be published?

Checking and counting of the ballots will start at 8 a.m. Friday.

The results will come in during the day as the count progresses. We’ve put together a handy guide to how the voting system works.

Belfast Live will have the latest results, reactions and analysis as the votes are counted.

What are the most important chairs to watch?

Of the 18 constituencies, several are considered important battlegrounds. Check out our rundown of where to make or lose profits.

Read more:BBC NI Election Debate: Assessment of Stormont leaders’ performance in the battle for votes

Read more:Review of Stormont party election broadcasts

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