Elections in the United Kingdom: What to know

General Elections in the UK are usually held every four to five years.
Elections have typically been held in May, though the election in December 2019 was the first winter election in almost a century.
This is the first UK General election in the month of July since 1945.
Polls opened at 7am with polling due to close at 10pm( BST).

The UK is divided into 650 constituencies. Parliamentary constituencies are being contested in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, with around 40,000 polling stations.
46million people are eligible to vote.

Who can vote?

Anyone on the UK electoral register who is 18 or over on polling day can vote – as long as they are a UK citizen, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen can vote due to historical links between UK and countries of the former British empire, or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland who has an address in the UK.
UK citizens living abroad can vote in areas where they were previously on the electoral roll.

This is the first general elections with voter ID.
22 types of identification can be used including drivers licence, UK passport, biometric residence permit (BRP), older person’s bus pass, disabled person’s bus pass, passport from a commonwealth country,among others.

Most will choose their preferred candidate in person at polling stations.. Others have already done so using postal votes.

Government and local authority resources cannot be used for party political campaigning at any time. 

Most candidates belong to a particular political party, but some are independent.

Under a system called “first past the post”, the candidate with the most votes becomes the MP for that area.

Who forms a Government?

Voters in each constituency choose a Member of Parliament – or MP – to represent them in the House of Commons. The party with the largest number of members in the House of Commons forms the government and its leader usually becomes the prime minister,
an action that is also confirmed by an official conversation with the King.
A party needs 326 seats for a majority in the House of Commons without relying on support from smaller parties.
If no party ends up with a majority of at least 326 seats – meaning it faces being unable to pass new laws without the help of others – the result is known as a hung parliament.
At this point, the largest party might decide to form a coalition government with another party or operate as a minority government, relying on votes from other parties to pass any laws.

Source: UK Parliament, bbc, skynews

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