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Northern Ireland Assembly and local government elections

Elections in Northern Ireland are administered centrally by the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland who is both the returning officer and registration officer for all elections in Northern Ireland. You can find out more information on the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland’s website.

Our most recent guidance on administering local elections in Northern Ireland was combined with guidance on running Northern Ireland Assembly elections and our instructions for running the referendum on the UK Parliamentary voting system which was held on 5 May 2011. You will find all the guidance and resources we produced for 5 May 2011 polls in Northern Ireland on this page.

If you want to download emblems for political parties, visit our online database

Guidance on these pages was current on 5 May 2011 and it should not be relied on for polls taking place after that date. If you have questions about the guidance please contact your local Commission team. 

Part 1

Planning and organisation

This part covers:

  • Planning (including the identification and training of staff, the selection and booking of venues and management of contractors and suppliers)
  • How to maintain the integrity of the election
  • Raising awareness
  • Access to proceedings by electoral observers and Commission representatives

Part 1: Planning and organisation (PDF)

Part 2

Administering the polls

This part covers:

  • The nomination period (including access to the register by candidates, spending limits and the nominations process)
  • The production of notices, poll cards and ballot papers
  • Polling station voting

Part 2: Administering the polls (PDF)

Part 3

Absent voting

This part covers:

  • The absent voting timetable
  • Proxy voting
  • Preparations for absent voting processes and the production of stationery
  • Procedures for the issue, receipt and opening of postal votes

Part 3: Absent voting (PDF)

Part 4

The verification and count

This part covers:

  • The principles for an effective verification and count
  • Preparations for the count
  • Managing the verification and count
  • Verification and count procedures

Part 4: The verification and count (PDF)

Electoral administrator