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How to vote for your MEP in the European elections today

Telegraph Reporters
People queue to cast their vote at a Polling station in Peckham South London. - Eddie Mulholland

The European Parliamentary elections are due to take place today. For the first time since 2014, all EU citizens living in the UK will have the opportunity to vote in an MEP to represent their region.

Originally British voters had not expected to take part in these elections, but the delay to Brexit put paid to that idea. Political parties have now been scrambling to launch last-minute EU election campaigns and pull together a list of candidates.

Newly approved party Change UK – formerly The Independent Group – has announced a list including former television presenter Gavin Esler and Rachel Johnson, the sister of leading Brexiteer Boris.

The new Brexit Party headed by Nigel Farage has been surging ahead in the polls since its official campaign launch, with Annunziata Rees-Mogg, sister of Conservative backbencher Jacob, and former minister Ann Widdecombe  standing.

Here's everything you need to know about the elections: 

What date does the UK vote in the European elections?

The 2019 European elections in the United Kingdom will take place on Thursday May 23 - today. Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm.

Who is eligible to vote?

Citizens of the UK and other EU member states resident in this country and aged over 18 can vote, provided they are registered to do so by May 7.

How do I find my MEP candidates?

A comprehensive list of UK candidates can be found here.

On the day: where do I go to vote? 

You can't just turn up to any polling station - you have to go to the one you're assigned to. 

Your polling card, which you will have received through the post, is the easiest way to find out where you are registered to vote. It will include the name and address of your designated polling station. 

If you've not received your polling card but you know you have registered, give your local authority a ring to check. You can find the contact details by using the postcode finder tool on the About My Vote website.

When are the polling stations open and when do they close?

Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm on the day of the election, and are usually located in public buildings like schools or local halls. Counting will begin immediately after the polls close. Each vote is counted and checked by hand.

When do we find out the election results?

Voters in Ireland turn out the following day. Those in the Czech Republic, Latvia, Malta and Slovakia vote on May 25 and the remaining 21 EU nations cast their ballots on May 26.

The results from every nation will be released on May 26 or the following day after the last polling station in the continent is closed.

I can't find my polling card - what do I do? 

Don't panic. If you've lost it, or accidentally thrown it away, you can still vote as long as you've registered.

Just head down to the polling station and give your name and address and you will be able to vote when they find you on the electoral register.

If you voted in the 2017 general elections and you haven't moved house since, then you'll be fine.

I definitely didn't receive a polling card

It's probably because you didn't register to vote before the deadline, which means you can't vote today. Remember to register next time!

How do I vote?

Step one: Go to your local polling station

If you need assistance getting to the polling station, contact your electoral registration office to find out if they can help. You can also ask to have a companion with you when you vote, or staff in the polling station may be able to help you.

Tell the staff inside the polling station your name and address so they can check that you are on the electoral register. You don't need to take your polling card with you, but many people do.

Polling station staff are representatives of the (Acting) Returning Officer and should act impartially at all times. 

People queue to cast their vote at a polling station in Peckham in 2017 Credit: Eddie Mulholland

Step two: Read your ballot paper

Polling station staff will give you a ballot paper listing the parties and candidates you can vote for. You may be given more than one ballot paper if there is more than one election on the same day.

If you have a visual impairment, you can ask for a special voting device that allows you to vote on your own in secret, or a large print ballot paper.

Step three: Cast your vote

Take your ballot paper into a polling booth so that no one can see how you vote. Read it carefully and follow the instructions. There will be a pencil provided but you can use your own pen if you prefer. 

Mark your vote. Do not write anything else on the paper or your vote may not be counted. If you make a mistake don't worry. You can ask for a replacement ballot paper. 

Before placing your ballot paper in the ballot box, fold it and show the number and unique identifying mark on the back to the Presiding Officer.

Step four: Submit your paper

Finally, when you have marked your vote, fold the ballot paper in half and put it in the ballot box. Do not let anyone see your vote. If you are not clear on what to do, ask the staff at the polling station to help you.