North Antrim voters prepare to go to the polls

First Minister Arlene Foster accompanied local DUP candidates as they handed in their nomination papers for the forthcoming Assembly elections to Rae Kirk at Ballymena Area Electoral Office. L-R, Cllr Hubert Nicholl (Election Officer), Phillip Logan, Rae Kirk, Paul Frew, FM Foster, David McIlveen, Mervyn Storey. INBT 14-102JC
First Minister Arlene Foster accompanied local DUP candidates as they handed in their nomination papers for the forthcoming Assembly elections to Rae Kirk at Ballymena Area Electoral Office. L-R, Cllr Hubert Nicholl (Election Officer), Phillip Logan, Rae Kirk, Paul Frew, FM Foster, David McIlveen, Mervyn Storey. INBT 14-102JC

Northern Ireland voters will go to the polls on Thursday, May 5, for what will be the fifth NI Assembly election to take place since the devolved assembly was established in 1998.

Each of the 18 Northern Ireland constituencies elects six Members of the Legislative Assembly resulting in a total of 108 MLAs.

Jennifer Breslin, Green Party candidate for North Antrim, handing in her nomination papers for the forthcoming Assembly Election.

Jennifer Breslin, Green Party candidate for North Antrim, handing in her nomination papers for the forthcoming Assembly Election.

In North Antrim there are 15 candidates for the six seats available and as polling day approaches candidates have been out on the streets and knocking on doors in the constituency which has some 78,000 voters.

The candidates are:-

DUP - Paul Frew, Phillip Logan, David McIlveen, and Mervyn Storey.

UUP - Robin Swann and Andrew Wright.

North Antrim candidate James Simpson, Conservative hands in nomination papers to DRO.

North Antrim candidate James Simpson, Conservative hands in nomination papers to DRO.

TUV - Jim Allister and Timothy Gaston.

SDLP - Connor Duncan.

SF - Daithi McKay.

Green Party -Jennifer Breslin.

UUP representatives Robin Swann and Andrew Wright hand in their election papers to Rae Kirk, Ballymena Electoral office, watched by their supporters. INBT 16-803H

UUP representatives Robin Swann and Andrew Wright hand in their election papers to Rae Kirk, Ballymena Electoral office, watched by their supporters. INBT 16-803H

Conservative Party - James Simpson.

Northern Ireland Labour Representation Committee - Kathryn Johnston.

UKIP - Donna Anderson.

Alliance - Stephen McFarland.

UKIP candidate Donna Anderson handing in nomination papers.

UKIP candidate Donna Anderson handing in nomination papers.

There have been four elections since the devolution of the Northern Ireland Assembly with the last held in 2011.

As in the 2007 election, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin (SF) remained the two largest parties in the Assembly, with the DUP winning 38 and Sinn Féin winning 29 of the Assembly’s 108 seats in 2011. The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) won 16 seats, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) 14 and the Alliance 8, while one seat each was won by the Green Party, Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) and an independent candidate.

Polling stations will open for the 2016 NI Assembly Election on May 5, from 7.00am to 10.00pm with counting of votes expected to start the following day.

The electoral system is the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system of proportional representation. Voters can indicate their preference for one or more candidates.

SDLP North Antrim representative Connor Duncan has submitted his nomination papers to contest the Assembly Elections in May.

SDLP North Antrim representative Connor Duncan has submitted his nomination papers to contest the Assembly Elections in May.

Kathryn Johnston,  Northern Ireland Labour Representation Committee  has submitted her nomination papers for the NI Assembly election.

Kathryn Johnston, Northern Ireland Labour Representation Committee has submitted her nomination papers for the NI Assembly election.

Alliance Party NI Assembly election candidate for North Antrim Stephen McFarland pictured with the Partys long serving stalwart Jayne Dunlop.

Alliance Party NI Assembly election candidate for North Antrim Stephen McFarland pictured with the Partys long serving stalwart Jayne Dunlop.

The TUV's Jim Allister and Timothy Gaston hand their nomination papers in at the Ballymena Electoral office to Rae Kirk watched by their election staff and helpers. INBT 15-832H

The TUV's Jim Allister and Timothy Gaston hand their nomination papers in at the Ballymena Electoral office to Rae Kirk watched by their election staff and helpers. INBT 15-832H

Sinn Fein Assembly candidate Daithi McKay hands in his nomination papers to Electoral Officer, Rae Kirk. Image submitted.

Sinn Fein Assembly candidate Daithi McKay hands in his nomination papers to Electoral Officer, Rae Kirk. Image submitted.