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Find out what you can vote in

Northern Ireland canvass

Every 10 years, a piece of work is carried out to make sure that the electoral register in Northern Ireland is up to date. This is called the canvass. All voters are asked to register to vote so that their details are accurate.
 

Register to vote now

Registering to vote takes just five minutes if you do it online. All you need is your National Insurance number.

Register to vote now.

Registering to vote

A little while after you’ve registered, you’ll appear on the electoral register. This is a list of everyone in your area who is registered to vote. It’s managed by the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland. 

You can’t check online to see if you’re registered to vote. If you have any questions about the electoral register or registering to vote, you should contact the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland

Living at two addresses

Some people split their time between two addresses. For example, you might be a student living away from home, or split your time between two parents’ homes. If this is you, you may be able to register to vote at two addresses, as long as your addresses are in different council areas. 

This doesn’t mean you get two votes though. You must only vote at one address in Northern Ireland Assembly elections and UK Parliament elections but you can choose which area to vote in. 

It’s against the law to vote more than once in the same election.
In local council elections, you’ll be able vote at both addresses as long as you’re voting in different council areas.

Armed forces

If you’re 16 or 17 and one of your parents is in the armed forces, you will be able to register to vote as a service voter. 

This means that if your family is posted to a different country, or if you move around a lot, you’ll still be able to vote in elections in Northern Ireland. You’ll just need to remember to renew this every year whilst you’re under 18.

Living abroad

If you’re thinking about living in another country outside of the UK one day, even for a little while, you’ll still be able to vote in UK Parliamentary elections. 

As long as you’ve been registered to vote in the UK, and have been eligible to vote in general elections in the last 15 years, you’ll be allowed to continue voting for your MP. 

If you leave the UK before you are old enough to vote, you’ll still be able to register to vote if one of your parents has been registered to vote in UK general elections in the last 15 years. 

Postal votes can’t be sent outside of Northern Ireland, so if you’re an overseas or service voter, you’ll need to apply for a proxy vote. Take a look at ‘how to vote’. 

Councils’ responsibilities 

Councils are responsible for:

  • education services
  • youth and leisure facilities
  • planning decisions, for example, if your neighbour wanted to build an extension on their home
  • social housing
  • managing parks and other public places
  • social services such as foster care, help for people with disabilities, or care for the elderly
  • local roads and footpaths
  • rubbish and recycling
  • libraries
  • checking up on and supporting local businesses
  • registering voters and running elections

UK Parliament

The UK Parliament makes decisions about how the UK is run and makes laws that affect everyone’s lives. Its roles includes:

  • providing the funds to do government work by voting for tax
  • protecting the public and the rights of individuals
  • looking closely at government policy and actions - this is known as scrutinising
  • debating the major issues of the day 

Register to vote

Registering to vote

A little while after you’ve registered, you’ll appear on the electoral register. This is a list of everyone in your area who is registered to vote. These lists are managed by your local council’s elections team.

You can’t check online to see if you’re registered to vote, but if you have any questions about the electoral register or registering to vote, you should contact your electoral registration office. They’ll be happy to help. Find their contact details.

Living at two addresses

Some people split their time between two addresses. For example, you might be a student living away from home, or split your time between two parents’ homes. If this is you, you may be able to register to vote at two addresses, as long as your addresses are in different council areas. 

This doesn’t mean you get two votes though. You must only vote at one address in UK Parliament elections but you can choose which area to vote in. It’s against the law to vote more than once in the same election.

In local council elections, you’ll be able vote at both addresses as long as you’re voting in different council areas.

Living abroad

If you’re thinking about living in another country outside of the UK one day, even for a little while, you’ll still be able to vote in UK Parliamentary elections. 

As long as you’ve been registered to vote in the UK, and have been eligible to vote in UK Parliamentary general elections in the last 15 years, you’ll be allowed to continue voting for your MP. 

If you leave the UK before you are old enough to vote, you’ll still be able to register to vote if one of your parents has been registered to vote in UK general elections in the last 15 years. 
 

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