The long-awaited and highly competitive 2015 UK elections are finally underway. According to the BBC, all 50,000 polling stations across the UK opened up at opened at 07:00 BST, which will remain open until 22:00 BST.
Of note, 650 Westminster MPs (members of parliament) are being determined in the election, and there are close to 50 million people registered to vote in the UK this year. Together with the general nationwide election, there are more than 9,000 council seats up for grabs in 279 English local authorities. Mayoral elections are also being held in Bedford, Copeland, Leicester, Mansfield, Middlesbrough and Torbay.
Stay tuned to ValueWalk for all the latest 2015 UK election results on Thursday evening and Friday.
Good weather, high voter turnout expected
UK political analysts say they are expecting a high turnout for the 2015 UK elections because the weather has been dry and mild across most of the country and the interest in the elections is strong this year.
The large number of local elections means that nearly every voter in England (except for Londoners) will be given at least two ballots when they sign in at polling stations.
Quite a few votes had already been cast before polls opened Thursday through postal voting, which accounted for 15% of votes cast the 2010 general election. The overall voter turnout for the 2010 elections was just over 65%.
A BBC article on the UK election results notes online voter registration was available for the first time this year.
UK election expected to be very close
Almost all polls and analysts are in agreement that the 2015 UK elections are too close to call. By the same token, it is also a crucially important election, given major issues such as immigration and the nation’s relationship with the European Union are likely to be decided in the next few years.
Just before he cast his vote, current Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron said the country was “stronger than it was five years ago” but there was “more to do”.
Labour Party leader Ed Miliband urged people to vote “to reward hard work in our country again”, while Nick Clegg said the Liberal Democrats would offer “stability and decency” to the country.
Of note, the general election is a toss up as nearly all pre-election polls suggest no party will win enough seats for an outright majority in parliament, setting the scene for a lot of backroom wheeling and dealing after the elections to try and form a government.
A recent ICM survey of likely voters for the Guardian showed the Conservatives and Labour each ending up with around 35% of the seats, with the remaining three-tenths spread between UKIP, the Green party and a couple of smaller parties.
Some 2015 UK election results expected by evening in U.S.
Political analysts say some MP seats and local elections will be declared by midnight, but the results for most races are expected to be announced some time on Friday.
While the polls officially close at 22:00 BST, officials say any registered voter already in a polling station then should still be able to cast their vote.