Tactical voting - a guide: What is it, and is it legal?

10 December 2019, 07:15 | Updated: 10 December 2019, 15:45

Hugh Grant has encouraged the public to vote tactically in this election
Hugh Grant has encouraged the public to vote tactically in this election. Picture: PA

By Megan White

The general election has generated huge interest in tactical voting, as Britons try to decide who to support in the vote this Thursday.

Labour-backing stars have joined a major tactical voting push, pleading for people to "vote smart and box clever" to keep the Conservatives out of power.

In a bid to not split the vote, Brexit party candidates have stood aside in a large number of seats in an effort not to split the vote to help the Tories' chances.

But what does tactical voting mean, is it legal, and how does it work?

The Brexit Party stood aside in every seat won by the Tories last election
The Brexit Party stood aside in every seat won by the Tories last election. Picture: PA

What is tactical voting?

Tactical voting is when voters choose their candidate in order to achieve a certain result, rather than choosing the person they would necessarily prefer to be elected.

In this election, many of these choices have involved voters choosing the Liberal Democrats or Labour in an effort to keep the Conservatives out of power.

Some political parties have also helped voters to vote tactically by standing down in certain seats.

The Brexit Party chose not to stand in the constituencies which the Conservatives won in the last election, while in some areas, Remain parties have stood aside for each other.

This is in a bid to stop the vote being split.

Is tactical voting legal in the UK?

Tactical voting is totally legal, as voters are free to choose whoever they like on their ballot paper, as well as spoiling the paper completely if they wish.

How do I know if I should vote tactically?

There are several tactical voting websites available online, which combine the results of previous elections with local polls to work out which candidate has the best chance of knocking out the incumbent.

Different sites help voters choose different outcomes, whether they prefer a Tory or Labour majority.

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