Electoral Commission urges voters in Northern Ireland to get ready for Thursday’s elections

Electoral Commission urges voters in Northern Ireland to get ready for Thursday’s elections

The Electoral Commission is encouraging voters in Northern Ireland to make sure they are ready for the local council elections taking place on Thursday 18 May. 

Voters will elect 462 councillors across the 11 local councils in Northern Ireland. Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm and you must remember to bring a correct form of photographic ID with you. Don’t worry if your ID has expired as you will still be able to use it if it still looks like you.

Voters will receive one ballot paper to elect councillors in their District Electoral Area. You should rank candidates in order of preference on the ballot paper. Place a ‘1’ beside your first preference, a ‘2’ beside your second preference, and so on. You can vote for as few or as many candidates as you like. 

If you have a postal vote but have not had a chance to return it by polling day, you can hand it in to the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland before 10pm. However you can’t hand it into a polling station.

The count will begin at 8am on Friday when ballot boxes are opened at each of the 11 count venues.  

Cahir Hughes, Head of the Electoral Commission in Northern Ireland said: 

It’s important that voters have all the information they need to make sure their voice is heard at the local elections on 18 May.

Remember to bring your ID with you to the polling station and rank the candidates in order of preference on your ballot paper using numbers. Staff at the polling station are there to help, so if you have any questions, just ask.


An Electoral Commission spokesperson is available for interview.

For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours on 07789 920 414 or at press@electoralcommission.org.uk. 

Notes to editors

  • The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:
    • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
    • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
    • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency

The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK, Scottish and Welsh parliaments.

  • In Northern Ireland voters are required to produce a specified form of photographic identification at the polling station before then can be issued with a ballot paper. These include: 
    • a UK, Irish or EU passport
    • a UK, Irish or EEA driving licence
    • a Translink 60+ Smartpass
    • a Translink Senior Smartpass
    • a Translink Blind Person's Smartpass
    • a Translink War Disabled Smartpass
    • an Electoral Identity Card
    • a Translink Half Fare SmartPass
    • a biometric immigration document