Mark Whitehead 24 June 2016

Conspiracy theorists criticise use of pencils at polling stations

Voters in in an East Midlands borough were told they could not use their own pen to put a cross on their ballot papers - even though official guidelines say they can.

In a tweet, East Northamptonshire Council urged anyone heading to the polls to use pencils as ink could smudge and risked invalidating their ballot paper.

However, this went against the Electoral Commission's assurance that nobody has to use the pencils provided at polling booths if they would rather mark their cross with their own pen.

The council later corrected its advice, tweeting that voters were free to use a pen but to make sure it didn't smudge when the paper was folded.

Answering a Freedom of Information query recently the commission said: '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.

'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.'

Photo: chrisdorney/Shutterstock.com

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