Your guide to the Election

The Ballymena Electoral staff Rae Kirk, Hilda McDonald, Mandy Hassan, Annette McConkey and Karen Barbour. INBT 15-831H
The Ballymena Electoral staff Rae Kirk, Hilda McDonald, Mandy Hassan, Annette McConkey and Karen Barbour. INBT 15-831H

The Electoral Office in Ballymena has put together a handy 16-fact guide to voting in North Antrim in the 2016 Assembly Election.

The election will be held on May 5 with candidates handing in their nomination papers in recent days.

Here’s your guide to how the election will work in North Antrim:

The election will be held on Thursday, May 5 with voting from 7am to 10pm.

Counting of votes will take place at the Seven Towers Leisure centre on Friday, May 6.

Just over 78,000 are entitled to vote in the constituency which includes the whole of Ballymena and Ballymoney and large parts of Moyle.

Special arrangements have been made to get the Rathlin Island ballot box to the count centre.

There are 91 voters on the island.

There are 53 polling stations with a total of 94 ballot boxes.

The box with the most voters will be at Tullygarley Community Centre, with a total of 1325 voters. The smallest is at St Ciaran’s Primary School, Cushendun, with 59 voters.

Deputy Returning Officer, Rae Kirk, will have about 200 people involved in the count and another 600 staffing the polling stations.

Rae Kirk is responsible for the conduct of the count and declaring those deemed elected and excluded.

Everyone on the register is eligible to vote in the Assembly election as long as they are 18 and not an overseas elector or an overseas peer.

Certain categories of people cannot stand as a candidate for the election, such as anyone serving a prison sentence of more than one year anywhere in the British Isles or the Republic of Ireland.

The deadline for receipt of postal and proxy vote applications is 5pm on Thursday, April 14.

Receipt of late registration applications to entitle a person to vote must be received no later than Monday, April 18.

It costs £150 to stand for election but this deposit is returned if a candidate obtains a percentage of the valid vote.

This is to try to deter people who know they have no chance of winning.

Voters should vote by Single Transferable Vote (STV), which is by voting 1,2,3 and so on for as many or as few candidates as they wish, in order of their preference, with nothing else on the ballot paper for their vote to be counted.

The Electoral Office in Broughshane Street, Ballymena, will provide voters with an Electoral ID Card until April 22 and post it out to them free of charge. They can visit the office and staff will take their picture for the card.

The Ballymena Electoral Office telephone number is 028 9044 6600 and the helpline freephone telephone number is 08004320712.