SOMERSET voters will head to the polls today (May 23) to vote in the European Parliament elections.

Seventy-three MEPs, will be elected in nine constituencies in England, and one each in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The UK is divided into 12 electoral regions made up of the nations and regions of the UK.

Each region has between three and 10 MEPs and each MEP in a region represents each person living there.

The South West has six MEPs and they are currently held by William Dartmouth, Ashley Fox, Julia Reid, Julie Girling, Clare Moody and Molly Scott Cato.

Here is everything you need to know about this year's elections:

Who is running for European elections?

There will be 73 MEPs elected in the UK across 12 electoral regions: Eastern, East Midlands, London, Northern Ireland, North East, North West, Scotland, South East, South West, Wales, West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber.

There are hundreds of candidates running. The easiest way to see who is up on the ballot paper in your area is by entering your postcode on the Electoral Commission website, or searching online for "MEP candidates (your region) 2019".

Candidates will also be running across the other 27 EU member states. Overall, a total of 751 MEPs will be elected across the bloc to represent their regions in the European Parliament.

When you can vote

UK voters or their appointed proxy voters will go to the polls today (May 23), while other EU member states will vote between Thursday and Sunday.

Polling stations will open from 7am to 10pm. If you have registered to vote by post, it must have been received by the council by 10pm on Thursday.

You can hand this to the council on the day if you were unable to send it by post.

What will be on your ballot paper

The paper will contain a list of parties, with a list of their candidates within them.

Parties will often list as many candidates as there are MEPs for the region - for example, London elects eight MEPs, therefore most of the major parties have each put forward eight candidates.

With the exception of Northern Ireland, UK voters choose one party or one independent, rather than choosing individual candidates.

How you can vote

Assuming you are voting in person, you will need to find out your polling station. If you are registered to vote this will have been sent to you by post, but if you don't have this you can find out by contacting your local council.

Once you are there, you will be given a ballot paper listing the candidates you can vote for. This will have instructions on how to cast your vote.

Take the paper to a polling booth and mark it either with the pencil provided or your own pen if preferred. The Electoral Commission advises not to write anything else on the paper or the vote may not be counted.

Once completed, fold the ballot paper in half and place it in the ballot box. If you have made a mistake on your paper, tell the staff and they will provide you with a replacement.

Voters hoping to vote by post or by proxy must have applied already.

If you're voting in Northern Ireland, you must take photo ID - the list of approved documents is available on the Electoral Commission website.

When are results expected?

The majority of countries in the EU go to the polls on Sunday, meaning results in the UK will not be declared until after 10pm on Sunday night.

The candidates running for the South West England Region are:

Change UK

Rachel Johnson

Jim Godfrey

Ollie Middleton

Matthew Hooberman

Liz Sewell

Crispin Hunt

Conservative Party

Ashley Fox

James Mustoe

Faye Purbrick

Claire Hiscott

James Taghdissian

Emmeline Owens

English Democrats

Jenny Knight

Michael Blundell

Green Party

Molly Scott Cato

Cleo Lake

Carla Denyer

Tom Scott

Martin Dimery

Karen La Borde

Labour Party

Clare Moody

Lord Andrew Adonis

Jayne Kirkham

Neil Guild

Yvonne Atkinson

Sadik Al-Hassan

Liberal Democrats

Caroline Voaden

Martin Horwood

Stephen Williams

Eleanor Rylance

David Chalmers

Luke Stagnetto

The Brexit Party

Ann Widdecombe

James Glancy

Christina Jordan

Ann Tarr

Roger Lane-Nott

Nicola Darke


Lawrence Webb

Carl Benjamin

Tony McIntyre

Lester Taylor

Stephen Lee

Alison Sheridan


Larch Maxey

Mothiur Rahman

Neville Seed