IT'S DEMOCRACY TIME: GENERAL ELECTION 2019
Confused about what's going down this Thursday? AUBSU is here to help! Check out our handy guide to the 2019 General Election.
This Election is your chance to choose who represents you in the UK Parliament, and, ultimately, who gets to run the UK Government. Usually these happen once every 5 years, but for a whole bunch of reasons, this one has been called early.
So, how it all works: the country is split into 650 areas, or Constituencies. You get to vote for who represents you in your area. They will be your MP (Member of Parliament). Usually each person standing in the Election is a member of a Political Party: a group of people who share similar values and operate under a party leader.
Once every single area has elected an MP, the party with the most MPs will be in control of Parliament and their leader becomes the Prime Minister. Sometimes there is no overall majority for one party; this is called a Hung Parliament. In this case, parties will sometimes join up to govern together.
So, that's the background info. Let's look at how YOU get involved by voting.
To vote, you must have registered to vote before 11:59pm on 29th November. Want to check if you're registered?
Contact your local Electoral Office here.
You can vote between 7am-10pm, THIS THURSDAY, 12th DECEMBER.
You can vote any time during this period. Don't forget, as long as you are in the queue at your Polling Station before 10pm, you can still vote (but get there early anyway to get it done).
Your polling station! Find the address for it on your Polling card, which should have arrived at the place you registered to vote.
Unless you already voted by post, you should go and vote in person at the place listed on your card. You cannot go to any old polling station!
No card? No problem! Put your postcode into here to find out where to go and vote:
At the polling station, give your name and address to the people at the desk. You do NOT need ID (except for in Northern Ireland) or your polling card. You will be given a ballot: this is a big piece of paper with all the people you can vote for listed on it. Take your ballot to one of the little booths. Put a cross in ONE of the squares, next to the name of the person you want to vote for. Then, take your ballot and put it into one of the big boxes.
Your vote really could make a difference: there are places in the country where there were just TWO votes between the winner and 2nd place. This could ultimately impact who gets to run the country. This could have a big impact on your life right now, as well as long into your future.
Politics isn't just about a bunch of people in a big room shouting at each other: it has an effect on everything from the price of a pint of milk, to how much you pay for your degree, and this is your chance to express how you might want those things to look in the near future.
This leads us on to our next thing:
Which one of these charming 'gulls would get your vote?
We don’t want to tell you who to vote for. That’s totally up to you. Here are some things to help you make that decision:
Find out what the Parties stand for
During Elections, parties release a big document called a Manifesto, which explains all of their ideas about how they want to run the country. Individual candidates standing in areas will also make promises to voters. It is definitely worth looking at both of these things when deciding who to vote for. They are usually split into sections based around themes, so you can have a look at the issues that matter to you, if you don’t want to read the whole thing!
Firstly, find out who is standing in your area for each party. The widget above where you found your polling station will also tell you who is standing, and a bit more info about each candidate when you click their names.
Here are the party manifestos for the parties standing in Bournemouth West. Just click to read:
You can check out what the independent fact checker, FullFact, has to say about what the parties are saying right here.
Like quizzes? Take the Vote For Policies quiz to see which parties line up with your opinions.
Maybe you want a particular party to win (or lose!) the overall election, but voting for them in your constituency might not help them out much. This is because we vote for individual MPs in each constituency, not an overall party or Prime Minister. This means that unless you voted for the winner, it can feel like your vote didn't mean much.
That’s where tactical voting comes in. This is where you vote for the party most likely to unseat the party you don’t like; or, a party that more closely aligns with your preferred party, but that has a better chance of winning the seat.
There are a lot of websites out there that claim they suggest the best choice: be careful! The way some of these websites calculate their decisions can be very different, so you might get a different choice on different websites. Compare several of the results before making your decision.
One method to decide who is best to tactically vote for is to look at the results of the previous General Election (2017), to decide where your vote will make the most difference. You can check that out here
by putting in your postcode.
So, now you know how it works, and have a better idea of what exactly it is you'll be voting for, what else can you do? Here's our top tips to make the most of polling day:
Making a plan to vote is a great way to make sure you don't get caught up in your day to day life and forget to do it.
- Talk to your friends and family
Make sure everyone gets their voice heard! Pop a message in your group chat, call your Grandad, leave a note on the fridge. Get them to make a plan to vote too, maybe you could even go together.
- Get involved by campaigning
Maybe you have a preferred candidate or party that you really, really want to win; maybe you aren't able to vote in a General Election; or maybe you are just curious about what actually goes on besides casting your own ballot. Voting isn't the only way to make a difference: in fact, it is one small part! Go out and get involved in a local campaign, knock some doors, make some phonecalls.
That's all of our info for now. Thank you for reading, and HAPPY VOTING!