Election vote 2019: Can you vote with a pen – Why do you use a pencil at polling stations?


VOTERS are heading to the polls across the UK as election day gets underway, but Can you vote with a pen? Why do you use a pencil at polling stations?

Polling stations across the country opened at 7am this morning, with queues already reported as voters head out to cast their ballots. This is the first December general election since 1923, and voters are braving the cold and rain to place their votes.

Polling stations will close at 10pm, and results are expected in the early hours of Friday morning.

However, the Electoral Commission says any eligible electors who at 10pm are in a queue inside or outside the polling station must be allowed to vote.

After voting has ended and polls close an exit poll will give the first insight into how the election results may go.

It will be announced live on the BBC, ITV and Sky News and with each of the past few elections, the exit poll has produced a very accurate projection of the actual result.

Fieldwork will be carried out by polling company Ipsos Mori, with tens of thousands of interviews conducted at 144 polling stations across the country.

On leaving one of these stations, voters will be asked throughout polling day, using a mock ballot paper, how they just voted.

The big issues for voters in this election have been the NHS, the environment, education and of course, Brexit. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who gambled his premiership by triggering the vote, has sought to focus on his pledge to “get Brexit done” throughout the campaign.

Can you vote with a pen? Why do you use a pencil at polling stations?

You do not have to take your polling card with you, but the Electoral Commission advises that having it with you can help speed up the process.

There are no strict rules on which writing implement you use to vote.

There will be a pencil in the polling booth, but voters can use a pen if they prefer.

The Electoral Commission warns voters not to write anything else on the paper – other than a cross in one box – or your vote may not be counted.

If you make a mistake – as long as you have not already put it in the ballot box – polling station staff can give you a replacement ballot paper.

Chose the candidate you wish to vote for, and place a cross [X] in the box beside their name.

Another aspect of voting etiquette often asked about is taking pictures.

Taking photos inside the polling station is not allowed as it risks the secrecy of voting.

Ballot papers must be kept private, so no snapping a picture or posting it on social media.

However, the Electoral Commission says you are welcome to take photos outside the polling station.

Many take their dogs with them to the polling stations, and a huge quirk of election day in the UK is the hashtag #dogsatpollingstations, which takes over Twitter.

If you’d like to see some of the best dog photos from election day, click here to follow Express.co.uk’s live blog.

This morning Mr Johnson was seen casting his vote at Central Methodist Hall in Westminster.

Mr Johnson arrived at around 8.15am to cast his vote, bringing his dog Dilyn along with him.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was also spotted voting this morning, taking his dog Luna. 

Can you vote with a pen? Why do you use a pencil at polling stations?


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