The Speaker
Sunday, 14 July 2024 – 17:36
Polling Station sign

It’s UK General Election Day! Here’s What You Need To Know

For the first time since 2019, the UK is heading to the polls today for a General Election. Here’s what you need to know.

Where and when can I vote?

Polling stations are open from 7am – 10pm.

You’ll need to have registered to vote ahead of the deadline on June 18 in order to vote. For the first time in a UK General Election, you’ll also need to take a valid form of photo ID to the polling station in order to vote.

You should have received a polling card to your address with information such as where to vote and the acceptable forms of photo ID.

How do I vote?

In the polling station, you’ll be asked to confirm your identity and then you’ll be handed a ballot paper.

The ballot paper will contain a table of the different candidates you can vote for – you can only vote for one candidate, and should mark an ‘X’ in the box next to the candidate you wish to vote for.

Once you have completed your ballot paper, you can fold it and place it in the ballot box.

What happens on Election Day?

There are strict rules preventing most political reporting during the day of the election until after polls have closed. Instead, news outlets tend to focus on key figures going to vote, and reporting on dogs at polling stations.

At 10pm, the exit poll is released. This is the first indication of what the election result is likely to be before votes are counted, according to pollsters who have surveyed people at key locations throughout the day to ask how they voted.

The first couple of results tend to be declared around 90 minutes after the polls close, though most will come through in the early hours of the morning between 2am and 5am. If individual results are tight, there may be recounts which could see some delays.

The result of the election is expected to become much clearer shortly after 5am, depending on the speed and results of seats declared. Political leaders will address the nation as it wakes up on Friday morning, by which point the outcome is expected to be confirmed.

What do the results mean?

UK General Elections use the First Past the Post electoral system, which sees candidates elected to 650 seats in the House of Commons. The electorate will cast votes for a local constituency candidate, and the winner of each local constituency race will get a seat in the House of Commons, becoming a Member of Parliament.

This system, which differs from some other elections, means that political parties need to win outright in individual constituency areas, rather than just getting lots of votes across the country.

The party with the most MPs usually forms a government, with 326 seats needed for a majority.

Why should I vote?

Politics impacts everyone’s daily lives, including yours. The General Election is the chance to make your voice heard on the issues you care about, and to choose a candidate to represent your views in Parliament for the next five years.

Find out more about how politics impacts you here.

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