Elections and referendums

Find out how to register to vote and how you can take part in an election or a referendum. Also find out what previous referendums have been held in the UK.

Referendum on electing MPs

The first UK-wide referendum since 1975 was held on 5 May 2011 on changing the voting system to elect MPs to the House of Commons.

Referendums held in the UK

There have been nine previous referendums held in the UK, the majority have been on issues related to devolution.

Register to vote

You need to be on the electoral register in order to vote in UK elections and referendums. The electoral register is a list of names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in the UK.

Voting in an election

There are three different ways you can vote in the UK, in person at a polling station, by post or by proxy.

Standing for Parliament

If you are interested in standing as a candidate in the UK General Election you will first need to find out if you are eligible.

Related information

Voting systems in the UK

Find out what voting systems are used to elect the House of Commons, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, Northern Ireland Assembly, European Parliament and local authorities in the UK.

Election and referendum basics

Parliament's Education Service supports young people's understanding of Parliament and democracy. Learn more about elections, referendums and voting systems.

Living Heritage

Learn how the right to vote has been extended to different sectors of society over the years