VOTERS across the UK will go to the polls tomorrow to elect Members of the European Parliament.

The unexpected election is a result of the UK government's Brexit deal failing to pass in the House of Commons, and the fact the process has now been extended into the autumn.

The UK was originally due to leave on March 29, but that has now been delayed to October 31, and although Prime Minister Theresa May had said there was a possibility the EU parliamentary elections could be avoided if a deal is passed before May 22, it is now certain that voters will get their chance to return 73 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to Brussels and Strasbourg.

Unlike the first-past-the-post system used in general elections, the European contests use the D'Hondt system, a form of proportional representation where voters choose a single party and the number of elected candidates from each party's list depends upon the proportion of votes cast.

In the first round of counting, the party with the most votes wins a seat for the candidate at the top of its list. In the next round, that party's vote is divided by two, if it is still top it gains another seat, if not then whichever rival now has the most gets a seat.

At each subsequent round, the process repeats itself, with the original vote of the winning party in each round being divided by one plus their running total of MEPs, until all the seats for the region have been allocated.

A total of 73 MEPs represent the UK, with England is split into nine regions: South East England has 10 MEPs, London and North West England each have eight, East of England and the West Midlands each have seven, Yorkshire and the Humber and South West England have six each, the East Midlands has five and North East England has three. Scotland has six MEPs, Wales four and Northern Ireland three.

Candidates for the four Welsh seats were officially confirmed in April. They are:

Conservative - Dan Boucher, Craig Lawton, Fay Jones and Tomos Davies

Labour - Jackie Jones, Matthew Dorrance, Mary Wimbury, Mark Whitcutt

Plaid Cymru - Jill Evans, Carmen Smith, Patrick McGuinness, Ioan Bellin

Welsh Liberal Democrats - Sam Bennett, Donna Lalek, Alistair Cameron, Andrew Parkhurst

UKIP - Kris Hicks, Keith Edwards, Tom Harrison, Robert McNeil-Wilson

Green - Anthony Slaughter, Ian Chandler, Ceri Davies and Duncan Rees

Brexit Party - Nathan Gill, James Wells, Gethin James and Julie Price

Change UK - Jon Owen Jones, June Davies, Matthew Paul and Sally Stephenson.

Nathan Gill and Jill Evans are both sitting MEPs - the Conservative's Kay Swinburne and Labour's Derek Vaughan will be standing down.

The 2014 election saw UKIP top the poll across the UK, but Labour came first in Wales, with UKIP second. Labour's Derek Vaughan was re-elected with 28.15% of the vote, but UKIP's list got Nathan Gill returned as an MEP with 27.55% of the vote. The Tories' Kay Swinburne was re-elected with 17.43% for her party. Plaid Cymru came forth but held on to Jill Evans' seat with 15.26%

The election is expected to be a difficult one for the two main political parties, with Welsh Conservatives effectively battling an election they never expected to happen. Dan Boucher is the party's lead candidate. He previously stood for the party in Swansea East in the 2011 Assembly election and works for the Christian Action Research and Education campaigning group. He is followed by Craig Lawton, who works in the Assembly for South Wales West AM Suzy Davies.

Labour, meanwhile, has faced accusations of mixed messages after accepting the EU referendum result in its 2017 manifesto, but also supporting a further referendum on Brexit under certain circumstances and calling for a poll if the party cannot get changes to the government's Brexit deal, or a general election. Leading Labour candidate Jackie Jones is calling on voters to back the party in the European elections 'to stop far right parties from winning more seats'. She said that if Labour MEPs are elected they would work to combat climate change, protect food and animal welfare standards and for peace and stability across Europe.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats say they are fighting this election with one clear message: to stop Brexit from happening. They back the People's Vote campaign and their UK leader Vince Cable has declared the organisation to be the "party of remain". The Welsh list is led by Sam Bennett, a former chair of the Young Liberals (then IR Cymru), while their number two is Donna Lalek, a lawyer and teacher from Broughton in Flintshire.

Ms Lalek said: "The disaster that is Brexit has been devised by the Conservatives to try to bring their party together. Instead, aided by Jeremy Corbyn, they have torn the country apart and turned families and friends against each other by offering something they have shown they are unable to deliver.

"The polls show that Plaid Cymru need a significant increase in the vote share to be likely to get a second seat, however, a second seat for Remain parties is very much within the reach of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

"As a party we have strong policies for our future in Europe and we have been the clearest and most consistent remain party. The Liberal Democrats were the first to call for a confirmatory People's Vote. We believe that in the UK we should be leaders not leavers and we believe that a process that began with the people should end the same way.

"There are many important issues in play but this election has, inevitably, revolved around Brexit. No matter what happens we need to elect MEPs who will serve this country and it's people. The EU 27 are our friends and neighbours and we must have a good relationship with them to make our country as safe and prosperous as possible. This is particularly a concern in the local area where Airbus, a fine symbol of European co-operation, employs more than 6,000 people. Someone needs to fight for jobs like these."

Like the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru Wales have said the only way to 'beat Brexit', is by giving the party your backing on May 23. It is standing its sitting Welsh MEP Jill Evans as the party's lead candidate. She has represented the party in the European Parliament since 1999, and is a former chair and president of the party.

She said: "We are the only party that has ever won a seat in Wales, and recent opinion polls have confirmed that we are the only party that can win in Wales this time."

The party backs a 'Final Say' referendum as well as a five-year, £5 billion EU Transformation Fund for Wales to tackle social inequality, and to spread prosperity, investment and opportunity to every part of Wales.

A new name on the ballot this year is Change UK - the Independent Group of anti-Brexit MPs which broke away from Labour and the Conservatives. The anti-Brexit party's lead candidate in Wales for the European parliamentary elections is Jon Owen Jones, who has described politics as 'broken' and that both Labour and the Conservatives have both been taken over by the 'extremes'. Mr Jones was the Labour MP for Cardiff Central between 1992 and 2005, serving as a Labour whip and a Wales Office minister during that time.

Completing the anti-Brexit parties competing for your vote are the Green Party, which have never won a Welsh seat in the EU parliament or the Assembly, but are confident after some excellent results in the recent UK council elections. Anthony Slaughter, is the party's leading candidate and as leader of the Greens in Wales he has backed a further referendum on the UK's membership of the EU. He is a garden designer from Penarth who has been involved in local community-based environmental group Gwyrddio Penarth Greening. Ian Chandler is the party's number two. He has worked for Oxfam and Amnesty International, and lives near Skenfrith, in Monmouthshire.

UKIP have held a Welsh seat in the European Parliament since 2009, and came close to coming first in the last Welsh vote in 2014. This time around Nathan Gill who served as UKIP Wales party leader from 2014 to 2016, and was an AM until he quit at the end of 2017, will run for Nigel Farage's Brexit Party, leaving UKIP's head of press and communications Kris Hicks standing at the top of the party list.

The Brexit Party is another new name on the list and their message is simple: for the UK to leave the European Union now - with the matters of policy and even structure and membership to be left until after May. After Mr Gill, Keith Edwards - a freelance management consultant from Cardiff - is the party's number two choice.

Flintshire Council has reminded residents that they should have received a card giving details of the polling station where they can cast their vote.

Colin Everett, returning officer for Flintshire, said: "Each of the 22 local authority areas in Wales will conduct their own counts on the evening of Sunday, May 26.

"We do this on the Sunday because voting in parts of mainland Europe takes place on the Sunday itself.

"When they have completed their counts, Local Returning Officers will inform the Regional Returning Officer for Wales (RRO) - based in Pembrokeshire County Council - of the result of the count in their area.

"The result for the Wales electoral region will then be declared by the RRO. Local results cannot be announced before 10pm - the time that polls close in some parts of Europe."

A spokesman for Flintshire Council added there were 96 stations in Flintshire that would be open from 7am-10pm on May 23, but anyone who had applied for a postal vote and not received it should phone 01352 702 412. Residents in Wrexham can email