General election 2019: What is tactical voting and is it allowed in the UK?

It may be a general election rather than any kind of EU referendum, but Brexit lies right at the heart of the vote on December 12.

The country is still divided over Brexit - whether it should be happening in the first place as well as how it will happen - and the issue will inevitably influence the way some people vote.

There have been some suggestions that the poll next month will see a large amount of tactical voting as people use the general election to voice their views on Brexit.

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Brexit could lead to more people voting tactically in the general election (Picture: Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Brexit could lead to more people voting tactically in the general election (Picture: Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

Read more: Why is the UK having an early general election?

What is tactical voting?

Tactical voting is when someone votes for a candidate who isn’t necessarily their favourite to win so they can stop someone else from winning.

For example, if you want to vote for a party that is unlikely to win your constituency seat, you might use your vote instead to stop another party from taking the seat - by voting for a third party that stands more chance of winning.

Read more: How many seats do you need to win a general election in the UK?

Why would people vote tactically in this general election?

Probably because of Brexit.

Some campaign groups are urging people to vote tactically, saying it would help voice Leave or Remain views and affect Brexit.

Some campaign groups are encouraging people to vote tactically in order to influence Brexit (Picture: REUTERS/Toby Melville)
Some campaign groups are encouraging people to vote tactically in order to influence Brexit (Picture: REUTERS/Toby Melville)

Best for Britain launched its own tactical voting tool predicting that if just 30% of pro-Remain voters used their vote tactically, it could prevent the Conservatives from winning a majority - and so making it tough for Boris Johnson to get his Brexit plans through parliament.

Research by polling company BMG Research for The Electoral Reform Society found that of 1,500 voters questioned, 24% said they planned to vote tactically to keep out a candidate they dislike, compared to 66% who said they would vote for their first preference.

Read more:

What is a hung parliament and will there be one after the 2019 general election?

When do we find out the result of the general election?

Is tactical voting allowed in the UK?

Technically, yes it is. When you vote in a general election you can choose any candidate who appears on the ballot paper and it doesn’t matter what the reason is.

Some political parties also make tactical decisions, deciding not to stand in certain seats if it means it will prevent another party with similar views on certain issues from being elected.

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