Voting underway for Northern Ireland Assembly

Voting underway for Northern Ireland Assembly

VOTING HAS begun in Northern Ireland for the Assembly election.

There are 239 candidates running in 18 constituencies across Northern Ireland, including a record 87 women.

Voting stations opened at 7am and will remain open until 10pm, and there are more than 1.3 million people on the electoral register.

Five candidates will be elected in each of the constituencies using the single transferable vote system.

Sinn Féin are putting forth the most candidates with 34, the DUP have put forth 30 candidates, Ulster Unionists 27, the Alliance Party 24 and the SDLP 22.

The TUV have 19 candidates and the Green Party 18, although one was suspended last week and is no longer endorsed by the party.

People Before Profit and Aontú are each fielding 12 candidates.

Ballot boxes will be opened in three count centre at 8am tomorrow with over 1,000 staff members involved in counting.

First results are expected early tomorrow afternoon.

The biggest party after the election will be entities to hold the role of first minister, while the biggest party from the second biggest of the unionist and nationalist blocs will hold the role of deputy first minister.

Tweeting this morning, Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill said to come out and vote for Sinn Féin "if you want a First Minister for all."

"This is a defining moment and a real time for change. Today your vote can make the difference."

Meanwhile, Jeffery Donaldson said in an eve of poll message yesterday that the "election is a choice between real action on issues that matter to people or a divisive border poll plan that Sinn Féin has tried to play down but which has now come to the fore."