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What CAN'T you do in a polling station?

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What CAN'T you do in a polling station?

Postby » 08 Jun 2017, 19:29

Can you take a selfie?

There's nothing in the law that specifically bans taking photos, but the Electoral Commission very strongly discourages any photography inside a polling station, primarily because of complex laws about maintaining the secrecy of the ballot. For instance, it's illegal to reveal how someone else has voted, which could happen inadvertently via a sloppy selfie. In addition, taking a photo of a ballot paper's unique identification number is against the rules. The key is a law against releasing any information "obtained in a polling station", which is in order to protect the integrity of the poll.

Can you tweet about voting?

The Electoral Commission warns against doing it inside the polling station, even if it's about your own vote. Elsewhere you are free to publicise your vote. However, as above, there are strict laws against revealing someone else's vote, including influencing whether they publish it themselves. Under Section 66 of the Representation of the People Act it is a criminal offence to communicate information about the way someone has voted or is about to vote, and specifically 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".

Can you bring a pet?

Dogs may not yet be entitled to vote but they are allowed to come and watch as long as they don't disrupt the vote. In cases where a voter has two or more dogs and will struggle to control them while casting their ballot, polling station staff may be able to hold the dogs' leads.

But the Electoral Commission advises that while voters are welcome to bring their dogs unless they're a guide dog, they may have to be left outside.

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