Register now to play your part in the democratic process.
On Thursday 4 June 2009 European elections are taking place in 27 EU Member States, including the United Kingdom.
A total of 72 MEPs (Member of European Parliament) will be elected in the UK, out of 736 seats in the European Parliament.
The European Parliament has become increasingly important in recent years, as an estimated 70% of new laws affecting the UK being made in Strasbourg, as opposed to our own Parliament in Westminster.
Local elections will also take place in Britain, where local Councillors will be elected as part of the same operation.
Some facts about voting in the UK
Many migrants do not take part in the election process even after becoming British. Even European Citizens, entitled to vote in the European Elections often miss out on the chance to have their vote counted.
In order to vote in an election you must be registered in advance, which means taking action now. Paying Council tax does not mean you are registered to vote.
UK Parliamentary general elections only have to be held once every 5 years, and the dates are not fixed.
There are many other types of elections which affect your area and the people who represent you. These include local government elections and European Parliament elections, as well as elections in some parts of the UK to devolved bodies (the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales, Northern Ireland Assembly and the London Mayor and Assembly).
Local elections are usually held more often than other types of elections, as not all Councillors are elected at the same time. So you may find that there are elections happening almost every year that are relevant to you – that’s why its important to ensure you’re registered to vote. You can find information about upcoming elections in your area by entering your postcode on this website.
Who can vote?
EU and qualifying Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK can register to vote in UK elections, although EU citizens cannot vote in UK Parliamentary (General) elections.
How and where do I vote?
Thousands of local Polling (voting) stations in every area are open from 7am until 10pm for all UK elections, so everyone should have time to fit voting in. You will be advised of your nearest centre – usually a School or Church hall.
You can now take your children with you when you go to vote. If you’re unable to make it to the polling station you can apply for a postal vote or ask someone else to cast your vote for you (a proxy). It’s always best to be registered, so if you change your mind you’ve got the option to vote if you want to.
British elections take place in a relatively quiet, organised manner, with none of the violent incidents seen in some parts of the world.
If you entitled to vote, make sure you register now so you can take part in the democratic process.