Voters go to the polls in European Parliament elections

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European elections
Polling stations, like this one at Colbury Memorial Hall, opened in the New Forest and Christchurch for the European elections

POLLING stations are open today as voters cast their ballots in the European Parliament elections.

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Citizens are voting across the EU over the next few days with the results – run in the UK under a form of proportional representation – to be announced across the continent on Sunday.

The New Forest is choosing 10 MEPs from the UK’s south-east region, which comprises Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

The places are being contested by 85 candidates made up of nine party lists and three Independents. The full list is  here.

The EU parliament is elected every five years. The last European elections saw a UK turnout of 35.5% but that is set to be higher this time with voters expected to use the ballot box to express their views on Brexit.

Christchurch residents will be casting their ballots to choose six MEPs representing the south-west, with an overall list of 41 candidates made up of eight party lists and Independents. The full list is here.

The region includes Dorset, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Bristol and Gloucestershire.

Counting the votes will start at about 11.30am on Sunday 26th May so results coincide with those being announced across Europe.

New Forest ballots will be tallied up at Applemore leisure centre in Hythe, with the overall regional results announced later at Southampton Guild Hall.

In European Parliament elections voters choose their preferred party rather than a candidate, as ballots are counted under a version of proportional representation. EU citizens in 27 countries will vote to elect a combined 751 MEPs.

Applications for emergency proxy votes can be made until 5pm today (Thursday). Polling stations will be open from 7am-10pm.

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