Six key questions about the general election

Theresa May has called a snap general election. The general election will take place on Thursday 8 June, on top of local elections, which take place on 4 May. Here’s more information about what it means for you.

Photo of polling station for general election
A general election has been called for 8 June

With both local and national elections on the horizon, here are six things you need to know:

1. What is a snap general election?

A snap election is an election called earlier than expected. The previous general election was in 2015, so another was not due until 2020.

A general election allows everyone in the UK to vote for their MP – the person who will represent them at Parliament for the next five years.

All the seats in the House of Commons become vacant when Parliament is dissolved for an election. There are 650 MPs in the Commons. They currently comprise 330 for the Conservatives, 229 for Labour, 54 for the Scottish National Party and nine for the Liberal Democrats. There are also some smaller parties, such as the Green Party and the UK Independence Party.

2. Am I on the voting register and how do I register to vote?

You can register to vote online by midnight on 22 May.

If you are already registered to vote for the Dorset County Council elections,  you don’t need to register again.

If you don’t know whether you are registered to vote, you can contact your local council.

3. How do I register for postal or proxy voting?

You can register for a postal vote by 5pm on 23 May and 5pm on 31 May for a proxy vote.

More information can be found on our elections pages.

4. Does this mean county council elections are still happening?

The county council elections are still due to take place on 4 May . Voting registration ended on 13 April and polling cards have been sent out.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council holds elections three years out of four. West Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, Christchurch and East Dorset councils hold elections every four years.

Borough or district councils don’t hold elections in the same year as county council elections, unless byelections are needed.

This year, a byelection is taking place for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council in the Westham East ward. There is also a byelection taking place in the Gillingham Town Ward of North Dorset District Council. These elections will take place on 4 May alongside county council elections.

5. What happens to the Future Dorset proposal?

It’s likely that the timing of the Government’s announcement on Future Dorset will be impacted by the general election.

The pre-election period for the general election, known as ‘purdah’, which restricts government and council policy announcements before an election, starts on 8 May.

We already know that there will be no Future Dorset announcement before 4 May, due to purdah for the Mayoral Elections, which are taking place across Britain.

We will continue to keep you updated when we have more information. In the meantime, you can get more information about the Future Dorset proposal on the website or by following @futuredorset on Twitter.

6. How can I help the election team and assist at the elections?

The local elections team has seen a huge increase in people offering to help at the next round of elections.

Weymouth and Portland, West Dorset and North Dorset locations have a full allocation of people who can support at both polling stations and the count.

Christchurch and East Dorset councils are still looking for people to support on the election day. If you’re interested in helping, contact these councils for more information.

If you are already working in May at a polling station or count then is likely that you will be working again and we will contact you with more details.

For details of other councils in Dorset, visit either Bournemouth Borough Council or Borough of Poole.

8 thoughts on “Six key questions about the general election

  1. Why don’t you provide people with information that isn’t already known or common sense? What a waste of taxpayers money!

    1. Hello,
      Thank you for your message and sorry you feel this way.

      We provided this information as we have received lots of calls from members of the public asking about what this means for them.

      We’ve also received many requests from people wanting to help us to run the elections process. We wanted to acknowledge that people have been kind in this way and also let people know that most councils have a full complement of volunteers for the elections, but highlight that Christchurch and East Dorset councils are still looking for people to help out.

      By releasing this information, we will reduce the need for people to call in about the elections, which means we can respond to other people who are enquiring about our services more quickly.
      Best wishes,


  2. I think this is very helpful. Thank you. If anyone asks me about any of this I now how the answers.

  3. Councillors are voted by the public expecting them to look after their interests, and to listen to public opinions and where suitable to act on them, not allow
    Property Developers and suchlike to determine what is to be done in our towns and villages!
    I sincerely hope the next elected council will be more active in this direction and take the time to listen and understand the needs, especially of those who have been born, worked and lived in the area all their lives and cannot get any permanent living accommodation.

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