Northern Ireland Assembly election 2022: Key dates, how to vote and where to catch the results

Tracey Magee with her taken on day one of the Stormont Assembly election campaign.

Voters will go to the polls on 5 May to elect 90 MLAs to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Five MLAs will be chosen to represent each of the region's 18 constituencies at Stormont.

This upcoming election will be the seventh since the Assembly was established in 1998.

The last one was held in 2017, and was a snap election following the resignation of the late Martin McGuinness as deputy First Minister, in protest over the RHI scandal.

The DUP was returned as the largest party, though with a smaller share of seats than in 2016, while unionism lost its overall majority for the first time.

How do I vote?

The Assembly is elected using a system known as Single Transferable Vote.

On the ballot paper, voters will be asked to mark a '1' against their first preferred candidate, a ‘2’ against their second preferred candidate and so on, for as many candidates as they wish.

The deadline to register to vote is midnight on 14 April and you can do so here.

All persons who are listed on the electoral register, at least 18 years of age on 5 May, and are British, Irish, European Union and qualifying Commonwealth citizens, are eligible to vote.

A map showing the location of polling stations in Northern Ireland is available here.

When will the results be known?

Once the polls close, the process of counting of votes will take place at three centres across Northern Ireland.

Ballot boxes will be opened at 8am on Friday 6 May, and that is when the verification and count of ballot papers will begin.

Throughout the day announcements will be made as counting is completed in each constituency.

What happens next?

Once the process is complete, the party which emerges with the largest number of seats can elect a First Minister, while the second largest party elects a deputy First Minister.

Northern Ireland's power-sharing system of government means that these roles are joined and must represent each of the two largest communities.

Unionist leaders - Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Doug Beattie - however, have refused to say if they would nominate a deputy first minister should Sinn Fein top the poll, potentially throwing the institutions into a state of limbo.

Ministers are then assigned to the decision-making Executive, using a system known as d'Hondt - which ensures parties get a proportional number of departments compared to their vote.

How to keep up to date on the latest developments?

UTV will be providing extensive coverage of the build up, counting, results and the follow up to the election across TV and digital platforms.