The secret ballot is one of the fundamental pillars of democracy, so why so far this morning has social media been flooded with polling booth selfies? Today we take a look at what you should and shouldn’t do in he polling booth.
Voting Rules in UK Elections
- You do not need to bring your polling card to vote.
- It is not illegal to take a selfie, but it is illegal to reveal how someone else has voted - be careful where you aim that camera.
- You MUST NOT take a picture of your ballot paper if the paper’s unique identification number can be seen. The law prohibits releasing information "obtained in a polling station", to protect the integrity of the poll. Breaching electoral law carries a fine of £5,000 or up to six months in prison.
- The Electoral Commission warns against tweeting inside the polling station, even about your own vote. There are strict laws against revealing someone else's vote. This includes encouraging or influencing whether they publish it themselves.Section 66 of the
- Representation of the People's Act it is a criminal offence to communicate information about the way someone has voted or is about to vote and also to "directly or indirectly induce a voter to display his ballot paper after he has marked it so as to make known to any person the name of the candidate for whom he has or has not voted”.
- You may bring your dog along to the polling station with you, but they do not get to vote.
- You should not year party political clothing. Voters dressed in party t-shirts may not enter the polling station.
- You do not need to show your face at the polling station, however, this may result in extra questioning to confirm identity if there is suspicion that you may be voting twice.
- You CAN vote drunk, however, we advise against it.
- You may not have any political discussion inside the polling station - including asking your mate who they are voting for if you can’t decide.
- You may keep your headphones in.
- You can mark the box with a tick or a cross and this can be in pen or pencil or marker or technically blood if you felt the need to express yourself, however, we feel this is a little inconsiderate to this accounting the vote. So long as your intention is made clear, your vote will count - we recommend sticking to the traditional cross using the pens provided, just to be on the safe side.
- If you make a mistake, you can return your paper to the desk staff and vote again.
- A friend may come with you to the polling station, but they may not enter the polling booth.
- If you write a message on your ballot paper, your vote will not be counted.
- DO NOT sign your ballot paper. If your name is identifiable, your vote will not be counted.
Happy voting! If you would like more information on constitutional law in the UK, please read our UK guides on law and government.
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