The Sprout Guide to the European Elections

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This year’s European elections come with a big campaign to get young people using their right to vote. So what’s it all about, and why should you bother?

WHY should I vote?

In case you haven’t noticed, politicians of all stripes have been getting really involved with Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) recently- AKA Brexit. But as Brexit has been delayed for so long, we now have to vote in a new set of Members of the European Parliament, or MEPs.

These elections are happening right across Europe from Poland to Portugal, but here in the UK this is very much going to be “the Brexit election” as all parties’ MEPs will be elected knowing that most likely their job will end in October when we finally leave the EU (unless of course the date is extended further). The results from this election will be interpreted in various ways by both Brexiteers and Remainers to reflect the public’s opinions on Brexit.

In European elections, everyone’s vote matters, because it’s based around your country (ie Wales) rather than your constituency. We get to elect 4 MEPs for Wales. It’s proportional representation based on the D’Hondt system. Read more about that here.

WHEN should I vote?

Tomorrow! Thursday 23 May, 7am-10pm.

HOW should I vote?

The election is tomorrow so it’s probably too late for postal voting. You will have to fill in a polling card at your local polling station. Apparently you can do this in pen, despite the tradition to do it in pencil.

WHERE should I vote?

Head to your local polling station. They’re open early and late, so hopefully you can fit it around your day. (Even if Thursdays always seem to have the most Things To Do!)

Your polling station address should be on your voting card. If that got lost, then to find your Cardiff polling station, first click here. Then go to the My Maps tab, and in the sidebar, click: Show Map Categories > Your Council > Polling Stations.

WHO should I vote for?

The Sprout has to remain neutral on these matters- it is your own choice who you vote for.

The current MEPs are Derek Vaughan (Labour), Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru), Nathan Gill (Brexit Party, formerly UKIP and independent) and Kay Swinburne (Conservative). Something for everyone, then.

Kay Swinburne and Derek Vaughan are stepping down, but Jill Evans and Nathan Gill are up for re-election. Here are the other MEPs in the running, with links to their party websites (Welsh specific websites have been provided where available).

Conservative: Dan Boucher, Craig Lawton, Fay Jones and Tomos Davies

Labour: Jackie Jones, Matthew Dorrance, Mary Wimbury, Mark Whitcutt

Plaid Cymru/Party of Wales : Jill Evans, Carmen Smith, Patrick McGuinness, Ioan Bellin

Welsh Liberal Democrats: Sam Bennett, Donna Lalek, Alistair Cameron, Andrew Parkhurst

UKIP: Kris Hicks, Keith Edwards, Tom Harrison, Robert McNeil-Wilson

Green Party: Anthony Slaughter, Ian Chandler, Ceri Davies and Duncan Rees

Brexit Party: Nathan Gill, James Wells, Gethin James and Julie Price

Change UK: Jon Owen Jones, June Davies, Matthew Paul and Sally Stephenson

The BBC has helpfully listed the parties’ policies in this article which goes into more detail. 

You could always try the Your Vote Matters quiz to help you make your mind up. Simply answer whether you agree, disagree or abstain (eg don’t know) on 25 key party policy points.

And remember: don’t like the candidates? Consider running yourself next time around.

More Info

Your Vote Matters: EU Parliament

This Time I’m Voting

Really Simple Guide to the EU Elections – BBC



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