How To Vote In Local Elections 2019 Without Getting Arrested

Don't say we didn't warn you.

Local election day is upon is, with voting happening at 248 English councils outside London, and 11 local authority areas in Northern Ireland.

There are also polls for six elected mayors in Bedford, Copeland, Leicester, Mansfield, Middlesbrough and the new North of Tyne devolved regional authority.

Polls open at 7am and close at 10pm. Counting will take place overnight in about 120 areas but will be carried out during the following day in others, with the last result not expected until about 9pm on Friday.

Most people know there are certain things you’re not allowed to do:

No trying to intimidate anyone or influence how they vote.

Although not illegal, HuffPost UK does not recommend driving an actual tank to your local polling station
Although not illegal, HuffPost UK does not recommend driving an actual tank to your local polling station
PA Archive/PA Images

No marking your paper anywhere except in the box or your vote will be counted as spoilt.

And so on.

But for those who have more questions about what they can and can’t do in a polling booth, we’ve put together this handy guide.

Happy voting everyone!

Take A Selfie
PA Wire/PA Images
There are complex laws in place surrounding the secrecy of the ballot and so photography in polling stations is strongly discouraged.

The Electoral Commission says: “Due to the potential breach of the law, intentionally or not, we strongly advise against any form of photography taken inside a polling station."

Anyone breaching this could face a £5,000 fine or even six months in prison.

Selfies outside are fine though.
Be Accompanied By Your Horse
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You are technically allowed to take pets to the polling station as long as they aren't disruptive to the vote.

Unfortunately, given their size, horses would probably be classed as disruptive. And messy.
Take A Friend With You
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You can go to the polling station with friends or family if you want to go together. But you can't take them into the booth with you.
Be A Disruptive Drunk via Getty Images
There are no rules stopping people under the influence of alcohol or drugs from voting, and you won't be breathalysed.

But if you are disruptive you may not be allowed to vote.
Discuss Who You're Voting For
Hans Neleman via Getty Images
Once you're inside the polling booth, keep schtum. If you're suspected of trying to influence other voters you could be in big trouble.

You should also avoid talking about who you are going to vote for while inside the station.
Live Stream Your Vote
patrisyu via Getty Images
Same as the selfie rule. Put the phones away people.
Pull An All-Nighter
Elise Amendola/AP
Once it hits 10pm, the polling station will close.

Unless there have been problems because of big queues late into the evening, you will not be able to vote after that time.

You snooze, you lose (your ability to vote).
Write A Political Essay
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Well technically you can. But it won't be counted (it probably won't even get read) and you're hogging the polling booth.
Heckle Other Voters
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Don't be that guy. You could end up in big trouble and it's disruptive to the vote.
Get Frisky
Andy Sotiriou via Getty Images
We shouldn't have to say this but there are likely some people out there who find our electoral system wants to make them get first past the post, so to speak.

As detailed above, you're not allowed to bring a (ahem) friend into the booth with you. So behave!
Wear Political Clothing Or Rosettes
Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire
These might be classed as intimidating. Also only candidates and their polling agents are allowed to wear rosettes.
Sign Your Ballot Paper
itaesem via Getty Images
Well, you can but it will count as spoiling your ballot. You're not a celebrity, no one needs an autograph.

The polls will be swiftly followed by elections to the European Parliament on May 23 - unless the Prime Minister is able to ratify her Brexit deal in time to halt them.

However, local results may not be a good guide to the Euro-elections, as neither Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party nor the Remain-backing Change UK are fielding candidates on May 2.

Polls suggest the European elections may be treated as a proxy second referendum by many voters, with Tories currently trailing in third place behind the Brexit Party and Labour.


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