General election 2019: The voting system explained - BBC News

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have you ever wondered how your vote

counts in a general election first off

you're not actually voting for a prime

minister stick with me and I'll explain

why instead you're deciding who should

represent you and your local area in

Parliament's that local area is called a

constituency and there are 650 of them

in the UK some are big some are small

but each is made up of roughly the same

number of voters typically between sixty

and eighty thousand so on Election Day

voters in each constituency choose one

person from a list of candidates most of

them are in a political party but they

don't have to be the candidate with the

most votes in each constituency wins

this system of voting is called

first-past-the-post a term that comes

from horse-racing all a candidate needs

to be elected is to get more votes than

any other candidate in their

constituency the winner then becomes a

member of Parliament's and MP that means

they get a seat in the House of Commons

where they can debate and vote on laws

and check up on the government's work

but the seats are actually benches and

there's only space for about 430 of the

650 MPs to sit down at the same time the

way we elect our MPs explains why you

hear a lot of talk about safe and

marginal seats in the run-up to an

election a safe seat is one as a

candidate from a certain party is likely

to win usually after they've been

elected with a large majority last time

but the seat is never completely safe

large majorities have been overturned

now a marginal seat is won by the result

is likely to be much closer and it's

those marginal seats that are the most

hotly contested during election campaign


but what happens to your vote if you

didn't back the winner put simply

nothing happens with it at all at the

last election 14

in votes cast were for losing candidates

that's almost half of all the votes at

that election and what that means is

that the share of votes each party gets

on Election Day isn't the same as the

number of seats it ends up with in

Parliament take the 2015 general

election conservative party candidates

got 37% of votes across the country but

it still ended up with over half the

seats in parliament you kept on the

other hand only got one seat in the

House of Commons despite a national vote

share of almost 13 percent but whichever

candidate does win on election day

they're supposed to represent everyone

in their constituency and not just the

people who voted for them so who gets to

be Prime Minister then well that would

usually be the leader of the party with

the most MPs in Parliament and what does

the Prime Minister do we'll leave that

for another video