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Take a Pencil

Today sees a range of elections across the UK, for local councillors, police and crime commissioners, mayors and even national governments in Scotland and Wales. If you live in the UK, you are probably in the catchment area of a polling station.

Polling stations have all sorts of rules. I’ve got a feeling that one of them is that you should use the pencils provided to mark your ballot paper. That will make the marks more consistently reliable when it comes to counting. However, for this year, voters are “… encouraged to bring their own pen or pencil to mark their ballot papers”. That was widely reported in news sources but I finally managed to track it down about about half way through an official statement released in March.

Jane and I visited the local polling station this morning. There were pencils available, along with instructions on where to put them after use (is one of the new jobs for station officers to disinfect the contents of the used bin during slack times?), but also no question raised about us using the ones we had taken along.

If you are eligible to vote and haven’t voted by post (probably a popular choice this year, with lingering infection concerns), then you should make it a priority to get down to your local polling station today. Scribe your crosses as directed or spoil the paper by scribbling “I don’t want any of this lot” across it but get onto it and make your mark.

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