Transfers will be key as Fermanagh goes to the polls

THERE’S just one day to go until Fermanagh goes to the polls once again, and as always it looks like transfers are going to be key to determining who will be representing us at the Assembly over the next five years.

It’s been a relatively unremarkable campaign so far, with candidates keeping things civil and little controversy overall, but the calmness of this election has been belying its potential to profoundly impact the future of the North.

It’s not just about the big constitutional congruences the results could have, with polls predicting we’re on track for a historic election for nationalists and Sinn Fein in particular. It’s also about the bread-and-butter issues that have become life-and-death issues for many over the past months and years.


With the health service on its knees and the cost of living spiralling, whoever we send up the hill to Stormont this weekend will have heavy burdens to shoulder and problems to solve from day one.

We are certainly living in a time of crises.

From the continued fall out from Brexit, to the ongoing challenges of the historic pandemic, to war in Europe, to spiralling inflation and economic turmoil, a lot has happened since the last time the people of Fermanagh cast their ballots in 2017.

It will be interesting to see how the voters of the county respond.

There are five seats up for grabs in the Fermanagh South Tyrone (FST) constituency, and 16 candidates vying for your vote tomorrow, that largest field of hopefuls ever seen at an Assembly election locally.

Transfers are always vital in FST, which is famous for its close counts and knife-edge results. 

With more candidates on the ballot than ever, though, your number twos, threes, and maybe even fours and fives, will be more important than ever in deciding the outcome.


With Assembly elections taking place every five years, it can be easy to forget the nuances of the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, so here is a quick reminder.

When you go into your polling booth tomorrow you will be given a list of the candidates.

You DO NOT mark an ‘x’ beside your first choice, you mark a number ‘1’. After this you can then select your second choice, third, fourth, fifth and so on. You can select as many candidates as you wish, or just the one.

During counting, once a candidate reaches a set quota of first preferences, they are elected.

After that, their surplus votes – or ‘transfers’ – are transferred to the other candidates based on the preferences on the ballot.

Likewise, if a candidate does not reach the quota and is eliminated, their surplus votes are also transferred to other candidates based on the preferences.

This system has proven pivotal in electing many FST candidates over the years, with second, third and fourth counts often determining who a seat will go to.

Polls open at 7am tomorrow morning (Thursday) and will remain open until 10pm. Don’t forget to bring your voting card and a valid form of ID to your polling station.

To read more.. Subscribe to current edition

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA