Vote counting underway in Northern Ireland Assembly Election

Vote counting for the Northern Ireland Assembly election is underway at the three centres across the country.

The 18 constituencies are being counted at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt and at the Ulster University campus in Jordanstown.

1,373,731 were eligible to vote in the election, but indicative turnout figures per constituency at 9pm on Thursday averaged at around 54%.

The turnout at the last Assembly election in 2017 was 64.8%.

The first results are expected on Friday afternoon.

Where is your vote being counted?

Meadowbank Sports Arena

East Londonderry

Fermanagh and South Tyrone


Mid Ulster

Newry and Armagh

Upper Bann

West Tyrone

Titanic Exhibition Centre

Belfast East

Belfast North

Belfast South

Belfast West

South Down


Ulster University Jordanstown

East Antrim

Lagan Valley

North Antrim

North Down

South Antrim

The scene in Jordanstown Credit: Press Eye

How does voting work?

Members of Northern Ireland's legislative Assembly - or MLAs - are elected by the single transferable vote (STV) system.

It is different to Westminster's 'first-past-the-post' system which sees those with the biggest number of votes elected.

STV can be a complicated system which sees people vote, not by a 'x' but by numbering their preferences. That can mean that those with the most amount of votes may have to rely on transfers to get elected.

It is argued that the system produces a more representative system.

How does STV work?

1. People in each constituency vote for as many candidates as they wish in order of preference.

2. Each voting paper is checked to see if it has been correctly filled in and any spoiltpapers are removed from the count to give a total valid count.

3. A quota is calculated for each constituency using a formula. That is calculated by taking the total number of valid votes and dividing it by the number of seats available, plus one. And then adding another one.

4. Voting papers are sorted according to first preferences. Any candidate attaining or exceeding the quota is deemed to be elected.

5. Surplus votes from candidates who exceed the quota are then transferred at a fractional value to the remaining candidates according to next available preference.

- that fractional value is calculated by taking the surplus and dividing it by the total number of papers that were transferable - the result is calculated to two decimal places and the

remainder ignored)

6. Candidates with the least number of votes are excluded and their votes are also transferred according to next available preference.

7. This process continues until all available seats have been filled.