General election 2019: Voters set to head to polls across the UK" width="976" height="549">
The UK will go to the polls on Thursday for the country's third general election in less than five years. The contest, the first to be held in December in nearly 100 years, follows those in 2015 and 2017. Polling stations in 650 constituencies across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland open at 07:00 GMT.After the polls close at 22:00 GMT, counting will begin straight away. Most results are due to be announced in the early hours of Friday morning.A total of 650 MPs will be chosen under the first-past-the-post system used for general elections, in which the candidate who secures the most votes in each individual constituency is elected.
In 2017, Newcastle Central was the first constituency to declare, announcing its result about an hour after polls closed. Elections in the UK traditionally take place every four or five years. But, in October, MPs voted for the second snap poll in as many years. It is the first winter election since 1974 and the first to take place in December since 1923.
How the BBC is reporting the 2019 general election
Who is standing for election in my areaCompare the party manifestos
Anyone aged 18 or over is eligible to vote, as long as they are a British citizen or qualifying citizen of the Commonwealth or Republic of Ireland and have registered to vote. Registration closed on 26 November.
Follow election night on the BBC
Watch the election night special with Huw Edwards from 21:55 GMTon BBC One, the BBC News Channel, iPlayer
As polls close at 22:00, the BBC will publish an exit poll across all its platforms, including @bbcbreaking and @bbcpolitics
The BBC News website and app will bring you live coverage and the latest analysis throughout the night
We will feature results for every constituency as they come in with a postcode search, map and scoreboards
Follow @bbcelection for every constituency result
From 21:45 GMT, Jim Naughtie and Emma Barnett will host live election night coverage on BBC Radio 4, with BBC Radio 5 live joining for a simulcast from midnight
Details about where to vote can be found on the Electoral Commission website and are also listed on polling cards sent to households. People do not need a polling card to be able to vote but will need to give their name and address at their local polling station. People can only vote for one candidate or their ballot paper will not be counted. Ahead of the poll, the elections watchdog has reminded voters that taking selfies and other photos inside polling stations is not permitted and may be a breach of the law.Many people have already put a cross next to the name of their favoured candidate by voting by post - more than seven million people used a postal vote two years ago. Those who applied for a postal vote but have yet to return it to their Electoral Office must do so by 22:00. Alternatively, they can hand it into their local polling station by the close of polls.According to the BBC's weather forecast, Thursday will be a wet day in many parts of the country, with highs of five degrees Celsius in Edinburgh, nine in Cardiff, seven in Belfast and eight in London.
Voting will take place in schools, churches, town halls and more unusual locations, including launderettes
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