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Heatwave risk and election safety: does it make sense to hold elections in July?

Credit: Funk Dooby, Margate Beach, England, in July 2022 during the heatwave.

The UK is about to hold a July general election for the first time in almost 80 years. Sarah Birch, Erik Asplund, Maddie Harty and Ferran Martinez i Coma discuss why the risk posed by extreme heat could affect the conduct and outcome of the voting process. 

It was a chilly start to the summer, and if this trend continues, a brisk walk to the polling station on 4 July could be a welcome means of warming up. But the mercury is slowing rising and a heatwave could be just around the corner. Many will have vivid recollections of sweltering in the 40-degree temperatures experienced in the UK for the first time in July 2022, resulting in a red alert for ‘extreme heat’ from the Met Office and ‘do not travel’ advice from Network Rail. Late July is historically the hottest time of the year, with the early part of the month not far off. 

For the full article please visit 'The Consitution Unit Blog' (UCL) 

About the authors

Sarah Birch
Professor of Political Science and Director of Research
Erik Asplund
Senior Programme Officer, Elections and Crisis
Maddie Harty
Maddie Harty
Independent consultant
Ferran Martinez i Coma
Senior Lecturer
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