8 Jun 2017

UK goes to the polls in general election

10:49 pm on 8 June 2017

Voting in the UK general election is under way at more than 40,000 polling stations across the country.

John Curtice

Conservative Party leader Theresa May and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photo: Supplied

Polls opened at 07:00 BST on Thursday (6pm NZ time), with counting starting once voting ends at 22:00 BST (9am Friday NZ time).

A total of 650 Westminster MPs will be elected, with about 46.9 million people registered to vote.

That is up from the last general election, in 2015, when there were 46.4 million registered voters.

Some votes have already been cast, through postal voting, which accounted for 16.4 percent of the total electorate at the 2015 general election. People with an undelivered postal vote can still deliver it by hand to their local polling station.

Overall turnout in 2015, when the Conservatives won 331 out of 650 seats, was 66.4 percent, up from 2010.

Most polling stations are in schools, community centres and parish halls, but pubs, a launderette and a school bus have been used in the past.

Police have increased security at polling stations, including patrols by armed officers in some areas, following the recent terror attacks.

A handful of seats were expected to be declared by midnight (11am Friday NZ time), with the final results expected on Friday afternoon.

Unusually, no local elections are taking place at the same time, so results might come through earlier than in recent general elections.

To form a majority in the House of Commons one party must win 326 seats - in 2015 a Conservative majority was not confirmed until 13:34 BST (12.34am NZ time).

The weather forecast is for some rain in south-west England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales on Thursday, with south-east England remaining cloudy and dry.

Officials said anyone in a polling station queue at the time the polls close should still be able to cast their vote.

-BBC

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