As the deadline looms to register for the European Parliament elections, here's how to make sure you're able to vote

The UK is likely to head to the polls on 23 May. Credit: PA

With a break through Brexit deal looking increasingly unlikely, the UK is currently set to take part in the European Parliament elections.

The country is set to head to the polls on Thursday 23 May leaving political parties launching last-minute EU election campaigns and pulling together lists of candidates.

In order to have your say, in a vote which looks likely to be dominated in the UK by the issue of Brexit, you need to be registered - and the deadline for this is midnight on Tuesday.

So, who can vote, how do you check that you're registered, and what do you do if you aren't?

Numerous village halls and schools will become polling stations for the election. Credit: PA
  • Who can vote?

In the UK you have to be a British citizen or an EU or Commonwealth citizen resident in the UK in order to vote in European parliamentary elections.

If you hold any other nationality you are not eligible to vote in this country, even if you are a UK taxpayer and a long-term resident.

To be able to vote you must be 18 or older and you cannot be subject to any legal incapacity to vote.

  • How do you register to vote if you are a UK citizen?

UK citizens can fill in an online form to register to vote.

  • How do you register to vote if you are an EU citizen and live in the UK?

As an EU citizen resident in the UK (except those with British, Irish, Maltese or Cypriot citizenship) wishing to vote in the European elections in the UK you obviously need to register to vote, as explained above.

But once you have done that you also need to fill in an additional form called the European Parliament voter registration form.

The purpose of this form is to get you to declare that you are going to vote in the European elections in the UK only, rather than in your home country.

This is because you are not allowed to vote in the European elections in two countries.

If you are already registered to vote, local councils should send you this form automatically so you should not need to do anything other than just fill it in when you get it.

The country is gearing up for the EU Elections on May 23. Credit: PA
  • What are the elections for?

The European Parliament represents people living in the 28 member countries of the European Union (EU).

It has powers in a range of areas that affect member countries and can approve, change or reject new European laws.

The European Parliament is currently made up of 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who are elected by 28 European Union member countries.

The UK is currently represented by 73 MEPs at the European Parliament.

In the UK, there are currently 12 European electoral regions and each region is represented by between three and 10 MEPs.

You can find who your MEPs are on the European Parliament website.

  • Is voting the same across the UK?

In England, Scotland and Wales you have one vote to elect all of the MEPs for your region.

Each party puts forward a list of candidates – known as a regional list – and you vote for one of these lists or for an individual candidate standing as an independent.

The number of MEPs that are elected from each party to represent a region depends on the overall share of votes that each party receives.

Northern Ireland has a different voting system where you vote by ranking the candidates in order of preference. This is called the Single Transferable Vote.