Following Theresa May’s announcement in April, the UK will be holding a snap general election this summer. If you’re 18 or over by June 8th, you’re eligible to vote! Not sure how? This article is here to help. Below are some basic, helpful resources to help you cast an informed vote.
“I DON’T KNOW HOW TO VOTE”
First and foremost, you *must* be registered by May 22nd; without doing this you will not be able to vote (no exceptions). This usually takes around 5 minutes. If you’re unsure whether or not you are already registered, signing up again won’t have any negative effect, so its best to do it just in case.
Once you are registered, you will receive a polling card. This will contain information on which polling station to go to on June 8th to cast your vote.
“I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT I’M VOTING FOR”
Each area in the UK is split up into what are called ‘constituencies’. There are 650 constituencies overall, and each one collectively votes for one person to represent them. The person with the most votes in each area becomes a ‘Member of Parliament’ or an ‘MP’. Most MPs will be affiliated to a party (ie they will work for The Conservatives, Labour, The Liberal Democrats, The Green Party, UKIP etc). Therefore, whichever party has the majority of MPs by the end of the election forms the government, and their leader becomes the Prime Minister. That means if 326+ Labour MPs win in their area, Jeremy Corbyn will become Prime Minister and if 326+ Conservative MPs win, Theresa May will resume her role as Prime Minister (and likewise for any other party and their leader).
Thus, on the day of the election, you will be voting for an MP (from a party of your choice) to represent you in parliament.
It is worth doing some research into who your local candidates are; you can find out which constituency you live in HERE.
“I DON’T KNOW WHO TO VOTE FOR”
Each party releases a ‘manifesto’ which details the plans they would implement if they were to win the election. You will be able to find these, along with lots of over information, on the websites of each party; Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, Greens. If you have any other party candidates standing in your area, it may be worth looking them up separately.
If you would like to find out which party best aligns with your views, you can take a short quiz HERE.
There will also be televised debates and discussions with the party leaders, the details of which you can find HERE.
“I’M A STUDENT AND I’M NOT SURE WHERE TO VOTE”
If you are a student you can register to vote both at your home and your term time address. This gives you two options as to where you can vote. You can find out where your vote might have the most impact HERE.
ANY OTHER QUESTIONS
If you have any further queries, HERE is a great website to start with. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, whether that be to your local candidates or your friends.
Finally, enjoy voting for the first time!
Anna is a 19 year old undergraduate politics student at the University of Birmingham, UK. She takes particular interest in sport, feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, mental health and, of course, politics itself. You can find Anna on social media with the user: @tyrannacaurus. [Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org].