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General Election – What Do You Need to Know?

A general election has been called for Thursday 4th July, and for many young people this will be their first time voting and there may feelings of anxiety and uncertainty about what this might mean.


What is a General Election and how does it work?

At a General Election, you will vote for an MP (Member of Parliament) from your constituency (the area you live) to represent you and local residents in the House of Commons.

The candidate who has the most votes in your area will then become your MP.


Once all the votes across the country have been counted, the leader of the party who has 326 or more seats (the number of their MPs in the House of Commons) will be invited by the King to become Prime Minister and to form government.

If there is no party that wins 326 seats in the election, this is called a ‘hung parliament’.

When this happens, two parties can attempt to join together ,to gain 326 or more seats, and jointly govern – this is called a ‘coalition government’.

An alternative is that the party with the most votes decides to operate as a minority government, whereby they rely on votes from other parties to pass any laws.


Click here for easy read guides created by ‘My Vote, My Voice’.


What can I do right now for the General Election?

To be able to vote in the general election you need to:

  • Be registered to vote and ensure that this is tied to your current address – click here to register or amend your details by 18th June. If you live at two addresses or are a student, you can register to vote at both but most only vote once.
  • Be 18 or over on Thursday 4th July
  • Be a British, Irish orqualifying Commonwealth citizen
  • Have a photo ID that meets the criteria – you can check this here

If you don’t have a photo ID (or it doesn’t meet their criteria) you will need to have a Voter Authority Certificate – click here to register for one by 26th June.

You can also apply for a CitizenCard, which is an accepted form of voter ID. It is also recognised by retailers and the police as a valid form of identification.

You can get a CitizenCard for free by using the code DEMOCRACY at checkout when registering for one at To apply, you will need to verify your identity using an original document and referee. The deadline to apply for a free CitizenCard before the July 2024 election is Thursday 20th June.

  • Make you vote at your local polling station (details of this will be sent to you via post) on Thursday 4th July and take along your photo ID.

If you are unable to vote on the day (you may on holiday, busy at work, etc), you need to register in advance for a postal vote. You can register for a postal vote here by 19th June.


Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing more detailed resources and content created by young people to help you feel ready to vote.

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