The polls have opened at the UK elections, and a hung parliament is expected. The polls will remain open until 10pm, giving everybody eligible a chance to vote. Some voters have already expressed their wishes through postal voting, open to those who are not able to attend their polling stations on the day.
The party leaders have made their last ditch attempts to get people on board with them. Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg have posted videos on Facebook giving more reasons for people to vote to keep their parties in. Others have shared photos with short snippets of why they should be voted for this time.
The UK elections in the past have been traditionally one-sided, and fairly easy to call in the run up. Last year was the first time since the Second World War that a coalition government was formed, surprising many when the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats made a deal together. Many have expected no overall winner this year, despite Cameron and Ed Milliband saying that their parties can win and rule alone.
Much of the campaigning has been about who will do deals with whom. Milliband made it very clear throughout that he would not make a coalition with the Scottish National Party (SNP), despite many in Scotland expected to vote for them. Labour needs Scotland’s seats to stand a chance at a majority.
The polls have opened and are in full swing for the UK elections this year. There is a total 50,000 polling stations, many of them schools and community centers. It has led to many children being off school.
Fifty million people are registered to vote, and the turnout is expected to be higher this year than the last time. The Scottish referendum vote saw a large turnout; much higher than previously expected. It shows that people are willing to vote when they believe their voice will be heard.
As well as 650 Westminster seats up for grabs, people will be voting for their councils in England. There are 249 local authorities that need to be voted on. The local councils take care of a number of areas, including the use of their local budget for road works and city planning. Mayors in some areas are also up for election.
Due to so many elections, most voters will get two ballot papers at least in England. In Scotland, voters will only get the one to vote for a Westminster seat. The Scottish Parliament elections will take place next year, with the SNP expected to keep the majority.
The opinion polls for the UK elections are a mix. Many put Labour and the Conservative Party neck and neck, with some putting one or the other slightly ahead. The Liberal Democrats, UK Independence Party and Green Party are in third, fourth and fifth position—but not always in that order.
It is proving a difficult election to call. A number of programs are scheduled for the evening and through the night as voting closes and all votes are counted. For now, the UK polls are open for the UK elections, and the parties are urging everyone to get out and vote.
By Alexandria Ingham
Photo by Konstantinos Kazantzoglou – Flickr License