12 things we learned during the European and local elections

Millions of Brits cast a vote yesterday in the European and local elections. Most of the votes haven’t been counted yet, and in much of Europe the polls are still open. But there’s a great deal we have already learned about the electoral process from the past few weeks of campaigning and coverage, ranging from the perils of moving house to our prohibition on polling station selfies.

1. Percentage swing

In Dudley, 32% is bigger than 42%.

2. Who should I vote for?

Voting advice websites, which match voters with parties based on their policy preference, can influence electoral choices.  Find out more here and here.


3. Paper candidates

The UK’s major parties do voters a disservice by filling the European Parliament ballot papers with long lists of candidates, most of who have no hope of winning a seat. Find out more here. ballot

4. Don’t move

Up to 100,000 UK voters were effectively disenfranchised because they moved house (between local authority areas) shortly before election day. Find out more here.


5. Get a grip

Rules for the live debate between candidates for the presidency of the European Commission included a stipulation that participants must shake hands at the end. Find out more here.


6. Independent minded

In the past 10 years, 1 in 3 MEPs elected for UKIP have either defected or been sacked by the party before the end of their term of office. Find out more here.


7. Vote for me, because there’s no-one else

In the local election there were just seven uncontested wards (where only one candidate was standing) – including three wards in Halton, Cheshire. Find out more here.


8. No photos

You are not allowed to take a selfie in a polling station. Find out more here.


9. The benefits of concurrence

Holding the European and local elections on the same day is likely to mean voter turnout is about 3% higher than it would have been otherwise. Find out more here.


10. A for effort

The listing of of parties on ballot papers may favour those with names beginning with letters high in the alphabet, (such as ‘An Independence from Europe’, formed by a UKIP defector) – the Scottish government is currently consulting on proposals to change how ballot papers are ordered. Find out more here and here.


11. One party states

According to the Electoral Reform Society, 16 councils in England are at risk of becoming virtual ‘one party states’ after these elections, where a single party holds more than 75% of council seats. Find out more here.


12. Victory for the EPP?

Based on the most recent polling, projections from Pollwatch indicate that the European People’s Party – a group to which no UK parties represented in Brussels are affiliated – will remain the largest political group in the European Parliament . Find out more here.


Note: This post represents the views of the author and does not give the position of LSE or Democratic Audit. Please read our comments policy before responding. Shortlink for this post: buff.ly/1lRCTRo

New image credits: Euro Realist Newsletter, CC BY-SA 2.0 (6); Hans Watson, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (10); James Alexander, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (11). Hand image via www.flazingo.com

Similar Posts