Assembly election: Valentine's Day is voting registration deadline

Wondering what steps you need to take to vote in the forthcoming Assembly election? Look no further.

Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 5:17 pm
Ballot box

The Electoral Commission, the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK, has issued the following advice ahead of polling day.

If you want to exercise your democratic right, you need to be registered to vote by Valentine's Day, Tuesday, February 14. You'll need to download a voter registration form and send it to your local area electoral office.

If you want to find out about applying for a postal or proxy vote, visit the Electoral Office of Northern Ireland website.

To be eligible to vote in the March 2 poll, individuals must be over 18 on election day; be a British citizen; a qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of the European Union; be a resident of Northern Ireland, and not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote.

The snap election will bring about the implementation of plans to reduce the number of MLAs from 108 to 90. Under legislation already in place, the next poll will see five MLAs returned in each of the region’s 18 seats - down from six members previously.

The voting system in the Assembly elections is by single transferable vote. It's pretty straightfoward: vote for your number one candidate followed by second preference, third and so on.

Want to know how things work after that? Guidance on the The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website explains it this way: "Each candidate needs a minimum number of votes to be elected. This number is calculated according to the number of seats and votes cast and is called a quota. The first preference votes for each candidate are added up and any candidate who has achieved this quota is elected."