Elections and Referendum 5 May 2011

Thursday 5 May 2011

Download the Elections and Referendum booklet

On Thursday 5 May 2011, there will be:

  • an election to the Northern Ireland Assembly
  • elections to local councils across Northern Ireland
  • a UK-wide referendum on the voting system you use to elect MPs to the House of Commons

Northern Ireland Assembly

The Northern Ireland Assembly has powers to make laws for Northern Ireland on a range of areas including health, education, housing, agriculture and justice.

The Assembly has 108 members (known as Members of the Legislative Assembly or MLAs). Each of the 18 constituencies in Northern Ireland is represented by six MLAs.

For more information about the Assembly, go to www.niassembly.gov.uk.

Local councils

582 councillors will be elected to the 26 local councils across Northern Ireland. Each local council is responsible for providing a range of public services including waste management, sports and leisure facilities and tourism. Councillors also act as representatives on other public bodies such as education and library boards.

For more about the role of local government in Northern Ireland, go to www.nidirect.gov.uk/local‑government.

How do I vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly and local council elections?

You will receive two ballot papers like the ones pictured below. There will be a white coloured ballot paper for the Northern Ireland Assembly election and a buff coloured ballot paper for the local council elections.

Use this ballot paper to vote for candidates to represent you in the Northern Ireland Assembly. To vote, mark ‘1’ in the box opposite the name of your first choice candidate, ‘2’ in the box opposite the name of your second choice, ‘3’ in the box opposite the name of your third choice and so on. You can vote for as many candidates as you like.

Northern Ireland Assembly ballot paper

Use this ballot paper to vote for candidates to represent you on your local council. To vote, mark ‘1’ in the box opposite the name of your first choice candidate, ‘2’ in the box opposite the name of your second choice, ‘3’ in the box opposite the name of your third choice and so on. You can vote for as many candidates as you like.

Local council ballot paper

The system used for the Northern Ireland Assembly and local council elections is called the ‘single transferable vote’. This is not the same as the ‘alternative vote’ system that is discussed here. Although both ask you to use numbers to rank candidates in order of your choice, the way the votes are counted is different.

Find out how the votes are counted in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections

Find out how the votes are counted in the local council elections

Find out further information on the referendum on the voting system used to elect MPs

The registration deadline for Northern Ireland Assembly and local council elections and the referendum is 14 April.

Register to vote

Voting in person

Download a proxy or postal application form or find out more information on voting by proxy or postal

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