Eligible electorate increases 9.2% from 2007 Assembly election

The Electoral Office for NI have released the eligible electorate numbers for the three elections running on Thursday. Some of the changes can be put down to boundary changes, others are about an increasing population. But a lot must be down to increased voter registration.

The overall eligible electorate in NI has risen from 1,107,904 in March 2007 to 1,210,009 – that’s a 9.2% rise.

The chart shows the changes per constituency, in descending order of percentage change.

eligible electorate - changes between 2007 and 2011 assembly election

Update – to try and fathom what’s going on, I’ve graphed the annual figures for the last six years. You’ll need to click on it to blow up the graph.

eligible electorate amended added may 2011
Updated again – added in the May 2011 Assembly eligible electorate – which is the most recent figure and higher than the earlier published 2011 one.

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  • nathansurgenor

    Wow, a nice surprise as someone who is always encouraging others to make their vote count. Is the higher registration possibly due to the fact that we have three different votes happening and that they effect people in a much more direct way? (I’m thinking in relation to the Westminster and EU elections)

  • PaddyReilly

    Good news which may yet save us from Groundhog Day. New electors means new ideas.

  • Mark McGregor


    Surely it is mainly due to replacing the terrible annual canvass with rolling registration?

  • Mark – Is the rolling register still so recent? I’ve just found the annual figures … will check against interim years too and see where jump occurred

  • Mark McGregor


    iirc 2007 would have been the start of the rolling register, so we now have it plus additions.

  • Do we know if this is comparing the electorate on the new boundaries for both years? Or is it old seats compared to new?

  • Mark McGregor


    I assume it is the electorate for the boundaries at the time ie. apples and oranges in many cases.

    Though it can clearly be seen that the overall registered electorate has risen.

  • Greenflag

    Good question Nicolas Whyte .The bottom three constituencies -predominantly Unionist show a reduction in overall registration whereas all the Belfast constituencies show increases .

    Could these figures be reflecting a trend for ‘nationalists ‘ to register in greater numbers in some constituencies now whereas before it would not have mattered as the ‘unionist’ voting majority was so large .On the other hand in Belfast West were previously it was assumed that the nationalist vote had maxed out could the increased registration be due to ‘Unionists ‘ making an attempt to win back Dodd’s seat ?

    I guess we’ll know the impact of these increased ‘registrations on results day assuming the ‘new ‘ voters follow through and vote .

    A good sign anyway for the overall process of ‘normalisation’

  • Drumlins Rock

    I’m guessing its catch up from the annual register fiasco, with regards F&ST, with 1,500 foreign nationals now on the assembly (but not Westminster) register the increase seems slight in comparison.

  • Nicholas – it’s just the raw constituency figures. Added a new graph

  • joeCanuck

    That’s a remarkable increase. Hopefully the vast majority of those newly registered have only done so because they intend to vote. Could make a significant difference to outcomes.

  • Mark McGregor


    To be really useful that graph would need markers of when boundaries and registration systems changed.

    (it was you that started it!)

    The easiest one to add would be a top line figure of registered voters across the entire OSC.

  • Thanks for the year-on-year graph. I think that makes it clear that:

    1) the new boundaries apply only from 2010.

    2) 2007 marked a dip in total electorate, presumably due to the change in registration system confusing some people, so perhaps as much as half of that 9% increase should be considered as a catch-up effect.

    3) in years when there isn’t a change to registration system or boundaries (ie 2007-2009 and 2010-2011), all constituencies change at pretty much the same rate, whether Unionist or Nationalist in make-up. I am particularly struck by how parallel the lines from 2010-2011 are. There is no trace of the famous demographic bump in these figures.

  • Updated the final graph once more. The spreadsheet of stats from EONI website had the 2011 figure, but not the most recent one that covers changes up until very recently with the register closed for this election. So there’s a continued smooth rise.

  • hollydog

    I’m not too excited by increased voter registration – have you ever tried to get credit without appearing on the Electoral Register? ‘Twould be lovely to think that we’re all becoming more socially responsible but I fear that the reality is that we’re just as self-interested as ever!

  • OneNI

    Largely this is ‘catch-up’ from rolling registration. The figures for registered voters in the Belfast constituencies was scandelously low.
    Which figures is the Boundary Commission using for the forthcoming redistribution?

  • Before people get too excited, there have been elections in 2009 and 2010 and increases in registrations has not resulted in increases in voters on the day. If there was a substantial increase in the vote today, the question would be why when most feedback (other than the remarkable reception on the doorsteps for all candidates of all parties) is that there is widespread disinterest in this one? Will the final result be more interesting that we thought before this chart was posted for our consideration? Who knows?

  • Greenflag

    ‘If there was a substantial increase in the vote today’

    Normally in most democracies an increase in the vote usually bodes ill for the governing party or parties . In NI terms that would be good news for the UUP, SDLP and AP but due to the eh ‘complications’ of the D’Hondt mandatory coalition the only party that could look forward to benefitting from an increased vote today would be the TUV .

    We can be certain that there will be no dramatic result such as the Republic’s last election . It will be interesting to see the AV referendum result in NI as well as across the other regions .

    It looks like a NO vote . Australia’s system with it’s compulsory voting and AV system does not appeal to a majority of the British . They appear to see it as too complicated and indecisive . So the UK will continue with it’s FPTP and strong government with the Governing party getting as little as 23% of the votes of the total electorate . ( based on a party vote of 36% in a 65% turnout GE)

    If even simple AV is too complicated and too democratic for most British people then Ireland’s multi seat constituency PR system must appear chaotic – and yet even with all that complexity and count centre excitement for the anoraks it still takes at least a 41% overall first preference party vote to get a single party majoritarian ‘stable ‘ government in the Republic . So a 41% first preference vote in a 65% turnout election Ireland (ROI) could get single party majoritarian government with the support of just 26% of the total electorate ? Is the difference between 23% and 26% worth the hassle of change .

    I’m reminded of the old USSR joke when a Russian emigre returned to Odessa in 1969 and met an old friend and compared notes about their different life experiences since ‘revolutionary’ days . After several bottles of vodka they finally got down to the nitty gritty.

    Ivan : So Mikhailovitch remind me what was the alcohol content in Vodka before the Revolution and Communism ?

    Mikhailovitch : 3%

    Ivan : And now after 50 years of communism

    Mikhailovitch : 3.5%

    Ivan : Do you think it was worth it ?

  • RyanAdams

    Its worth noting the bottom three were slashed by boundary changes to increase Belfast, Not so much Lagan Valley, but Strangford net loss 6 wards – that explains the small decline.