Overview of the EONI

The Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland

The current Chief Electoral Officer is Virginia McVea. The main duties of the Chief Electoral Officer are:

  • to act as electoral registration officer for all constituencies in Northern Ireland; 
  • to act as returning officer for all elections and referendums in Northern Ireland; 
  • to recommend to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland by 16 April each year whether or not a registration canvass should be conducted;
  • to act as an assessor to the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland; 
  • to act as an assessor to the Local Government Boundaries Commissioner; and 
  • to lead and manage EONI.

The CEO is required to report to the Secretary of State on an annual basis on how she has discharged her functions and the extent to which the relevant registration objectives in Northern Ireland have been met.

Area Electoral Officers

Area Electoral Officers are responsible for:

  • As deputy registration officers (under the supervision of the Chief Electoral Officer) all registration matters within their constituencies.
  • As deputy returning officers (under the supervision of the Chief Electoral Officer) the conduct of free and fair elections to the Westminster Parliament, European Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly within their constituencies.
  • As Area Electoral Officers, the management and leadership of staff and management of the delegated budget of their Area Office.