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General Election: Why do we use pencils at polling stations?

Here's all you need to know about the rules when it comes to voting

Voters up and down the UK will wake up on Friday to discover who's come out on top in the General Election.

People across the country will head to the polls on Thursday (June 8) to cast their vote.

When they arrive at their local polling station, they'll be handed a ballot paper and asked to put a "X" in the box of their preferred candidate.

It may seem trivial, but in the booth there will be a pencil, normally attached to the structure with a piece of string.

But why pencils and not pen? Some worry that pencils could be rubbed out and encourage fraud.

Before the local election , one voter put in a freedom of information request, asking why pens have not replaced pencils at polling stations.

Jordan Lawrence, representing the Electoral Commission, said: "The use of a pen or pencil when completing the ballot paper is not specified in legislation.

"In the UK, pencils are traditionally used for the purposes of marking ballot papers and are made available inside polling stations for voters to use.

"Pencils have been used partly for historical and partly for practical reasons."

 

Mr Lawrence added: "Having said this, there is nothing to stop a voter from using a pen to mark their vote – there is no legal requirement for ballot papers to be marked with a pencil."

So there you go - take a pen to the polling station if you wish.

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