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Apparently you can take your own pen to vote

(55 Posts)
claig Thu 16-Jun-16 23:49:24

Saw an article on the web advising to take your own pen to vote rather than using the pencil.

Checked if that was OK and it seems it is

"Do I have to mark my cross with a pencil on a string?

No, if you prefer you can use a pen, even if it's your own. While a cross is usually called for, you could theoretically mark the box with a tick instead. The important thing is that your voting intention is clear."

catsofa Thu 16-Jun-16 23:52:12

Why did you think you couldn't? I like the ritual of the pencil on the string though.

claig Thu 16-Jun-16 23:53:12

I usually use the pencil, never thought of using a pen.

Spinflight Thu 16-Jun-16 23:58:59

Use a pen!!!!

Pencil can be erased and remarked.

claig Fri 17-Jun-16 00:02:09

'Pencil can be erased and remarked.'

Yes, that is what the article said. It said take your own pen. I had never thought of that.

MumOnACornishFarm Fri 17-Jun-16 00:12:30

Does anyone really think it would be erased and remarked though?

claig Fri 17-Jun-16 00:19:52

MumOnACornishFarm, they are petrified, the EU is in pieces. The ramifictins of a Brexit vote for the EU hierarchy doesn't bear thinking about. It could trigger the complete collapse of their plans and schemes.

Spinflight Fri 17-Jun-16 00:30:12

Depends, if you live in Tower Hamets then it is likely, if you live two miles from the Queen then less so.

As a labour campaigner once told me, apparently in all seriousness, vote early vote often.

MumOnACornishFarm Fri 17-Jun-16 04:55:13

So you're more likely to have a morally corrupt person overseeing your poling station if you live in a poorer area? Seriously, is this what anyone believes?? confused Sounds incredibly paranoid and a bit conspiracy theorist to me.

Spinflight Fri 17-Jun-16 05:00:52

Tower hamlets has been noted for it's corrupt electoral practices Cornish.

Nowt to do with being poor, though using the Queen as an example was probably misleading in that regard.

NovaArt3mis Fri 17-Jun-16 05:32:21

I've worked at polling stations and overnight counts and I don't understand how folk even get the opportunity to tamper with ballot boxes confused

In all the counts I've done I've never seen a paper that looked like the pencil had been erased or even smudged.

But people are more than welcome to use a pen but you do have to take your own as they're more often than not wouldn't be one at the polling station.

sashh Fri 17-Jun-16 05:51:13

I have a postal vote.

My vote was made with a rather nice cross fountain pen.

fourmummy Fri 17-Jun-16 07:46:40

I am taking my own pen. After the Lutfur Rahman (Tower Hamlets) voting corruption scandal, I am definitely taking my pen.

SpringingIntoAction Fri 17-Jun-16 11:17:01

An elderly lady told me at the start of this campaign that she was worried her postal vote wouldn't be counted. I laughed at this suggestion, but she was serious. I then spent some time reassuring her that it couldn't happen.

I am supposed to be present at the scrutiny of postal votes - have not had any instructions to attend so far.

My experience of Local Authorities tells me the Government will probably have a very indication from the postal voting trends. One Labour MP in Bristol actually tweeted about postal votes stacking up at the last General Election

lalalonglegs Fri 17-Jun-16 12:23:23

I've also worked at polling stations and counts and the opportunities for tampering with the votes are pretty much zero (not only because the LAs make a point of employing people who do not have strong political affinities but also because we are scruitinsed the whole time, particularly during the count).

My understanding of the Tower Hamlets fiasco is that the corruption was largely due to (a) mishandling of postal votes (b) undue influence put upon often not very well-educated or politically engaged voters (c) biased advice given by some politically-active staff/hangers-on at some polling stations often in minority languages. For the latter reason, we must only speak in English to voters now even if we share a language that would help them with a query as we have to be seen/heard not to be trying to influence their vote or giving them biased instructions on how to vote.

howtorebuild Fri 17-Jun-16 12:26:56

Two postal votes were erased and marked again. They came from the same box. They were not erased and marked in the same way or for the same party.

Limer Fri 17-Jun-16 14:02:14

When and where was that, howtorebuild ? That's very worrying.

I think there's far too much scope for electoral fraud in the UK. The simple introduction of having to present some form of ID would be a start. And doing something like dipping a finger in ink to prevent the common practice of "vote early and vote often" as mentioned upthread.

Every vote has equal weight in this referendum, and a close result is likely. I expect there will be quite a few stories of dodgy goings-on afterwards. Maybe a few recounts as well.

Cherylene Fri 17-Jun-16 14:08:13

I would have thought anyone would have a job and half rubbing out the stubby pencil cross as the pencils are usually big fat ones with a wide soft very dark lead. Imagine anyone trying to do that with a boxful of papers in the limited time they would have!! They would probably end up counted as spoilt if there were marks on them.

I prefer the stubby pencil on a string though. It gives it a sense of occasion grin

Limer Fri 17-Jun-16 14:17:52

You raise a good point there Cherylene

What if I was in the polling booth, marked my cross, then changed my mind? Would the staff destory that form and give me a completely new one, or would they let me rub out one cross and mark another? Does anyone who's worked in a polling station know?

lalalonglegs Fri 17-Jun-16 14:29:22

If someone says that they have made a mistake on their ballot paper, then polling staff can issue a new one. The original ballot paper is put in a separate envelope and a form is filled in to explain why there is a discrepancy between the number of votes in the ballot box and the number of ballot papers issued. The envelope with "spoiled" ballot papers is handed in with all the other paperwork and the ballot box at the counting centre. It's all very bureacratic but, again, there is not much room for shenanigans.

Re: asking voters for ID, I agree, it would make life easier at the polling station but the way it has been explained to me is that very few people have the right to demand proof of someone's ID in the UK as a matter of course - police officers are one of the few sets of officials who can (of course, ID can be required as part of a service or transaction such as hiring a car/renting a property etc). Apparently it would take an act of parliament to change this and you would then have the problem of how would people without, say, a passport or photo driving licence, be able to prove they are who they say they are and would we then be preventing these people from exercising their right to vote?

WhatsGoingOnEh Fri 17-Jun-16 14:38:31

At the polling station, don't they cross your name off the list when you turn up to vote? How, then, could one "vote often"? It's not like you can go round all the polling stations.

I don't get it?

Limer Fri 17-Jun-16 14:42:44

Thanks lala - useful info!

Interesting about ID too. I guess they could go the act of Parliament route and then insist on "some form of ID", but that would be open to fraud as well. Look at the number of people who have fake ID to get into clubs etc.

No easy answer - introduce a national ID card maybe, but I don't think that would be popular.

Limer Fri 17-Jun-16 14:45:15

Whats people just pretend to be someone else at another (or even the same) polling station. All you need is a name and address.

There are cases every election of people turning up to vote, only to be told their vote's already been cast.

WhatsGoingOnEh Fri 17-Jun-16 14:48:01

Limer, thanks for explaining. smile

I guess that'd be good if you do a postal vote for your own, real, vote, and then turn up in person and say you're someone else. Otherwise wouldn't they realise at the polling station that you'd already attended?

I'm going to be there the moment they open! I'd HATE someone to nick my vote.

lalalonglegs Fri 17-Jun-16 14:49:09

I think the "vote early, vote often" thing is a bit of a myth. But theoretically, yes, you could go along to a polling station (especially if you knew lots of people in the area who were unlikely to vote) and say "My name is xxx and I live at xxx", and then come back later and use another name and address or go to another polling station and do the same for an address in that ward. I think it's unlikely though.

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