Northern Ireland Assembly

The next election to the Northern Ireland Assembly is on Thursday 2 March.

Register to vote

The deadline to register to vote at Northern Ireland Assembly has now passed.

The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland may ask for additional documentation alongside your application to register to vote. If your application was received by 14 February then you have until 20 February to provide any supporting documentation. Find out more information about providing additional documentation.

Voting by post or proxy

The main deadline for applying to vote by post or proxy at the Northern Ireland Assembly election on 2 March has now passed. The only grounds on which applications may now be made are unforeseen circumstances related to health. The deadline for receipt of these applications is 5pm on 22 February 2017.

Find out more on the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website

Who can vote?

To vote in an election to the Northern Ireland Assembly you must be:

  • 18 years of age or over on polling day
  • a British citizen, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of the European Union
  • resident in Northern Ireland
  • not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote

Don't forget your photo ID

When you go to your polling station on election day don't forget to bring a correct form of photo ID. Without it you won't be able to vote!

The following forms of ID can be accepted at the polling station:

  • A UK or Irish passport
  • A UK, Irish or EEA driving licence
  • A Translink Senior Smartpass
  • A Translink 60+ Smartpass
  • A Translink War Disabled Smartpass
  • A Translink Blind Person's Smartpass
  • An Electoral Identity Card

The identification does not need to be 'current' but the presiding officer at the polling station must be satisfied that the photograph matches that of the person intending to vote.

No other form of photo ID can be accepted at the polling station. This includes ID such as work passes or parking blue badges.

For more information on applying for an electoral ID card, visit or call 0800 4320 712.

What does the Northern Ireland Assembly do?

The Northern Ireland Assembly represents the people of Northern Ireland. It has the power to make decisions and pass laws on devolved matters.

Find out more on the powers of the Northern Ireland Assembly

How do I vote?

Northern Ireland Assembly elections use a system called single transferable vote to elect Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs).

At the March 2017 election 90 MLAs will be elected to represent 18 constituencies. Each constituency will be represented by five MLAs.

When you vote you will be given a ballot paper listing all the candidate competing for the five seats.

You should rank these in order of preference by putting a 1 next to your first preference, a 2 next to your second preference and so on. You can rank as many candidates as you like.

To be elected a candidate much reach a set amount of votes known as a quota.

Votes are counted in stages. In the first round only first preferences are counted. Anyone who reaches the quota is elected.

Any remaining votes for elected candidates are re-allocated according to their second preference. If not enough candidates have reached the quota the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated and their votes are re-allocated according to the next preference on the ballot papers. This process continues until all five seats are filled.

Who is standing for election in my area?

You can find out who is standing for election in your area on the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website.