This year’s general, local and parish council elections are almost upon us, and as thousands of us get ready to head to a polling station we have compiled a handy list of dos and don’ts for prospective voters.
You CAN’T do the following in a polling station:
• Take a selfie in the polling booth
Photographs could land you in trouble if they reveal how someone else has voted, the unique identification number on the ballot paper or any information ‘obtained in a polling station’.
• Take a picture of your ballot paper
• Take a friend or loved one inside the polling booth for moral support
But if you have a disability or are unable to read the ballot paper and can’t vote on your own, a family member of friend may be permitted to accompany and assist.
• Have a loud conversation on a mobile phone
• Play loud music
Even if you are listening to quiet music on your headphones, you will be asked to remove them when addressed by electoral staff to confirm your name and other details.
• Talk about politics INSIDE the polling station
Believe it or not, discussing the parties or their representatives inside the polling station is banned, so any heated political debates with friends or partners need to be taken outside.
Here are four unexpected things you CAN do in a polling station:
• Take your pet with you
In some constituencies voters arrive on horseback to cast their vote. Dogs are also welcome, providing they are brought in an ‘accompanying’ capacity, as opposed to being allowed to roam freely. Other animals are the discretion of staff at the booth.
• Vote while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
But you’re not allowed be disruptive. If you are, this could lead to you being asked to leave until you have sobered up.
• Cover your face with a hoodie or burka
The people working at your polling station do need to make sure that you’re not trying to vote twice by impersonating someone else, but you can wear clothes covering your face.
• Use your own pen
Fortunately you don’t have to use the annoying pencils on a string provided to cast your vote. Technically, you can put anything in your preferred box as long as your intentions are clear, but it’s probably best to use either a cross or a tick.