Election 2017: Read the Recorder’s comprehensive guide to the ins and outs of polling day
PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 June 2017
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If all the tension and drama of polling day has left you a little confused, here’s the Recorder’s guide to what you can expect as the 2017 general election comes to a climax.
Polling stations will be open today from 7am until 10pm.
Counting of votes will start immediately after the close and continue throughout the night, with the first seat usually being announced just before midnight.
To find your polling station, you can enter your postcode on wheredoivote.co.uk.
As the evening goes on the news will begin to focus on exit polls.
An exit poll is an opinion poll taken as people are leaving a polling station. It asks how they voted.
They are carried out during the day and can only be published after voting has closed.
Estimated seat declaration times for Redbridge have been created based on forecasts obtained from local councils.
At present Ilford North and Ilford South are expected to reveal their results at 3.30am, with Leyton and Wanstead and Chingford and Woodford Green following behind at 5.30am.
Estimated seat declaration times for Havering were not available from the council but have been created based on the 2015 general election.
At present Dagenham and Rainham results are expected about 3am, with Romford, Hornchurch and Upminster close behind at about 3.30am on June 9.
The final result should be revealed sometime tomorrow morning, with the first seats being declared from about midnight.
Sunderland is often the first area to announce its results, doing so over the last six general elections.
In the UK we use the first-past-the-post voting system, which means the candidate with the most votes in each constituency becomes the MP for the area.
Usually, in order for a party to form a government, it needs to obtain more than half of the seats in the House of Commons – at least 323. The party with the second largest number of seats usually becomes the main opposition party.
But if no party finishes with more than half the seats, party leaders can try to form a minority government by convincing other parties to vote for their Queen’s speech.
Alternatively, parties can form a coalition whereby members of more than one party are given government posts.
Results will be reported by the media as they are revealed. The Electoral Commission publishes the overall results and individual constituencies.
Vote counting can continue into the afternoon. Traditionally St Ives is the last of the 650 constituencies across the country to declare.