ELECTION 2017: Decision day in Stormont poll

Stormont
Stormont

With only 10 months since the last Assembly election, the Newtownabbey electorate are taking to the polls again.

The Newtownabbey region is split between three constituencies; Belfast North, East Antrim and South Antrim, with 41 candidates standing across the three areas.

With the number of MLAs at Stormont reducing from 108 to 90, this election is set to be tightly contested.

In South Antrim, all six outgoing MLAs are standing for re-election, but at least one will taste defeat.

Going on the results from May 2016, political commentators feel the ousted politician may be drawn from a trioof former Alliance Party leader, David Ford, DUP MLA Trevor Clarke, or UUP newcomer to the Assembly Steve Aiken MLA .

In East Antrim, unionist dominance of the area is a virtual certainty. But with a surge of support for UKIP’s Noel Jordan last year, Alliance and TUV candidates polling well, and an incumbent Sinn Fein candidate to deal with, East Antrim’s final make up is anybody’s guess.

With only five seats available now, the DUP is likely to be worried their UUP rivals may gain at their expense – a risk compounded by the fact Alastair Ross, an experienced DUP MLA, is not standing. Instead DUP Newtownabbey councillor, Cllr Stephen Ross will make a bid to hold his seat for the party.

North Belfast was dominated four-to-two by unionists in 1998, but since 2003 there has been an equal split between unionist MLAs and pro-united Ireland ones. This will inevitably change, due to the cut from six Assembly seats down to five.

For a full list of candidates across Newtownabbey, check out the politics section on the Times site.

You don’t need to take your polling card to the polling station when you go to vote, but it may be more convenient to do so. You also need to show a valid form of photo ID.

This can be a UK or Irish passport, a photographic UK, Irish or EEA driving licence, a Translink Senior SmartPass, or 60+ Smartpass, or War Disabled Smartpass or Blind Persons Smartpass, or an electoral identity card.

Your photographic identification does not need to be current, so even if it is out of date, you can still use it to vote.