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General Elections 2017

Voting day for the General Elections is almost upon us. It's essential that you go out there and vote. But for some of you, this could be your first time voting. However, don't fear because we've got everything everything you always wanted to know about the elections (but might be afraid to ask.)

Why Is There A General Election Now?

By UK Law, a General Election must happen once every five years, with the next election due in 2020. However, the Government has the power to call an election earlier than expected – known as a Snap Election.

In an unexpected statement from Prime Minister Theresa May in April, she announced that she will start the process for a Snap Election for June 8.

What this will mean is that once Parliament dissolves (May 3) the country will no longer have any MPs and official campaigning begins for those standing in the elections.

Can I vote?

If you are 18 or older, registered and a British citizen, YES you can vote.

If you are a citizen of the Republic Of Ireland, a UK citizen or part of the qualifying Commonwealth states residing in the UK, you can also vote; as long as you’re over 18 and registered.

How Do I Register To Vote?

In order to vote in the elections, you must be registered. Registering to vote couldn’t be easier and only takes five minutes. First off, visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and fill in their online form. You may need the following to complete your registration: National Insurance number or your passport if you’re a British citizen living abroad.

To vote in the General Election, you need to register by 11:59pm on 22 May.

If you can’t find your National Insurance card, you’ll find your number on any of your student loan letters, payslips or other official documents. Failing that, you can find your NI number here.

What if I can’t be there to vote on polling day?

You can be registered at both your home address and your University or College address. Just visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote to register your term time address.

If you’re on holiday, you can either vote by post or by proxy – where you appoint someone to vote on your behalf. To do this, visit www.gov.uk/apply-vote-proxy to register.

If you’re voting by post, you can get your form from your electoral registration office by 5pm on 23 May. Details of where to find your local office can be found here: www.yourvotematters.co.uk

Remember that it’s an offence to vote more than once in an election.

Where do I go to vote?

Once registering, you’ll receive a polling card to your registered address before Election Day. Your card will include the details of where your polling station is.

On the day, polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm. There may be a queue, but don’t worry; as long as you’re in the queue before 10pm, you’ll be able to vote.

Who Do I Vote For?

That’s entirely up to you. There are many ways to find out about the candidates within your area. Visit www.whocanivotefor.co.uk, and enter your postcode and find out about all the candidates standing in your area.

You can also attend the Politics Society’s Hustings Event on May 31. The event will feature a candidate standing for election from all of the major UK political parties. More information can be found here: www.facebook.com/events/296027654186315/

Why Is My Vote Important?

Voting in elections is hugely important. This is your chance to decide how the UK should be run and is the easiest way for you to make change on how you think the country should be run. This is your opportunity to choose someone who fits your views and represent your needs.

So get out there on polling day and VOTE!

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