Here’s everything you need to know about registering to vote ahead of the December general election
The deadlock in parliament was finally broken after Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party agreed to a general election last night (29 Oct).
MPs had previously denied Prime Minister Boris Johnson his wish over a number of votes, however, an election date of 12 December was agreed upon last night.
The Prime Minister’s one-page bill won a Commons vote with 438 MPs in favour, and just 20 against. It will now go to the House of Lords, and looks likely to become the first winter general election since 1923.
In order to have your say in who runs the country, you need to be registered to vote. Here’s everything you need to know to make sure you can cast your vote.
Do you need to register to vote?
You may already be on the electoral register, and if you are, you do not need to register again.
If you voted in the last general election (2017) and have not moved house or changed your name since, you will not need to register again.
To check if you are already registered, you need to get in touch with your local Electoral Registration Office (ERO) and you will need your postcode.
Your local ERO is based with your local council. So, for example, if you live in Sheffield, you will need to contact Sheffield City Council.
In Northern Ireland, you need to speak to the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland.
If you find that you are not on the electoral register, you will need to register to vote.
How to register to vote
If you are not already registered to vote, you need to get yourself onto the electoral register. This is open to people over the age of 18.
The quickest way to register is online, and to do this you will need your National Insurance (NI) number.
There is a government website for this purpose. Once on the website, click the ‘start now’ button, and follow the steps.
You will need to provide you NI number, address and postcode and also list any previous addresses you may have been registered during the last election. This online process only takes a few minutes.
If you do not want to register online, you can sign up to vote by post. You can ask your local ERO to send you the form to post back to them, or you can print it off yourself and send it.
Who can vote?
Anybody over the age of 18 who is a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen with an address in Britain can vote. British people living abroad, who have been registered to vote in the last 15 years, can also register to vote.
Rules differ for those who work for the British Council or the Armed Forces.
When is the deadline to register to vote?
You must register to vote before midnight on 26 November 2019 in order to have your say in the general election on 12 December.
The deadline for registering for an election usually falls about two weeks before the election takes place.
How does a general election work?
You are a member of a constituency, which is based on where you live. Each constituency has a number of candidates standing for each political party that is represented.
You vote for one of these candidates, and the one with the most votes becomes the MP for that constituency.
The party with the highest number of MPs controls the Government, and the leader of that party will become the Prime Minister.
If no party has enough MPs to form a majority government, a coalition can be formed, where more than one party put their MPs together to form a collective government. The leader of the largest party in the coalition would be PM in that situation.