The European elections kick start today, with polls open from 7am until 10pm tonight. The vote will decide which political party represents British interests in the European Parliament for the last time, with Brexit in October. The UK has a total of 73 seats in the European Parliament, made up of MEPs across the UK’s electing regions. Some 548 candidates are hoping to take their place from across the political spectrum, with the Conservative Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, the Brexit Party and more all fielding representatives for the vote.
How many candidates can you vote for in the EU elections?
Parties standing for the election this year submit a selection of candidates for each region for voters to choose from.
England, Scotland and Wales use the d’Hondt system of proportional representation to pick candidates.
In the d’Hondt system, voters choose one party they want to represent them in Parliament.
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The system divides each EU nation into 12 electoral regions, 10 in England, one in Scotland and one in Wales.
Votes are counted in phases, and the party with the most gains a seat.
During each phase, the top listed party’s vote is divided in half and the next most popular party is awarded a seat.
This division continues for seven rounds, with consecutively popular parties awarded the most seats.
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The UK’s 12 electoral regions are as follows:
– East Midlands
– Northern Ireland
– North East
– North West
– South East
– South West
– West Midlands
– Yorkshire and Humber
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Northern Ireland does not use the d’Hondt system, instead favouring a “Single Transferable Vote”.
Voters rank their preferences in a list from most to least favourite.
They can choose as many or as few as they want.
Officials then establish a ‘Droop Quota’ which establishes the minimum number of votes a candidate needs to take a seat.