Published Thursday, 22 May 2014
Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm. (© Pacemaker)
A total of 905 candidates are competing for 462 seats in what is the biggest reform of local government for decades with the existing 26 local councils being replaced with 11 'supercouncils'.
Ten candidates are also standing for the European elections with three seats up for grabs.
Polling stations were open from 7am until 10pm on Thursday. Votes cast in the council elections will be counted and declared on Friday and Saturday.
Meanwhile, the results of the European vote will not revealed until all 28 countries have voted and a central count is completed on Monday.
The voting system used in the poll is called Single Transferrable Vote and people are encouraged to mark the ballot papers 1, 2, 3 for as many or as few candidates as they wish.
Seamus Magee, head of the Electoral Commission, said: "People will be given two ballot papers.
"For the European election you will be given a white ballot paper and for the local elections the ballot paper is yellow. Now it is very important that before leaving the house, they bring photographic ID with them because they will need that to vote.
"In some areas there are quite a number of candidates on the ballot paper so if people do take time when they are voting it is very important to remember we are using STV so you vote 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. right down the ballot paper and you can vote for as many candidates as you wish.
"But it is very important that people take their time to check their ballot papers because one thing we want to ensure is there is as few spoilt ballot papers as possible."
Once elected, Northern Ireland's new 'supercouncils' go into shadow form until April next year when they will take over from the current councils.
How to follow the results?
Counting for the local elections will take place on Friday and Saturday, while counting for the European election will take place on Monday.
UTV will have comprehensive rolling results coverage online, on mobile and on social media, with reporters at each count centre in Northern Ireland and extended coverage and analysis on television and radio.
Our live online coverage will give you an at a glance view of the state of the parties as the counting progresses across Northern Ireland for 462 new councillors, along with the latest videos and reaction.
From Friday afternoon, when the first results are due to be declared, you will find the latest detailed information from your area on our Vote 14 dedicated site - designed for mobiles, tablets, laptops and PCs, where we will provide details of who has been elected and the state of the parties in every district electoral area.
You can also follow us on Twitter @utvelection or find us on Facebook for all the latest.
On TV, Friday's edition of UTV Live will see Paul Clark, Marc Mallett, and Ken Reid in the studio alongside guest commentators, while Tracey Magee will be live from the Belfast count centre.
On Saturday, a special three-hour programme - again led by Paul Clark, Marc Mallett and Ken Reid in the studio - will follow developments from 12.20pm.
© UTV News