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X OR 😊?

Even the UK Electoral Commission is catering to millennials

Britain is busy at the polls today (June 23), deciding whether to remain in or leave the EU.

The BBC has this handy run-down of how, where, and when to vote. It includes advice on whether you can answer today’s rather momentous question with a smiley face instead of the recommended X on the paper ballot you are handed. The UK Electoral Commission, it seems, is catering to the young:

The Electoral Commission says the best way to make sure your vote is counted is to mark an X in a box. But a smiley face or anything which is interpreted by a returning officer as an expression of preference “must not be rejected if the voter’s intention is clear”, its guidance to Counting Officers says (pdf).

In other words, 😊 is ok. Selfies, however, are discouraged, lest the secrecy of the vote be compromised. Again, from the BBC:

Anyone who inadvertently reveals how someone else votes could face a £5,000 fine or six months in prison. Consequently, you will see “no photography” signs inside many polling stations.

The advice? Play it safe: “The Commission advises it would be better to take a photo outside the polling station to use on social media.”

Indeed, the polling booth selfie is something of a risky art, one that the Dutch seemed to nonetheless master during the European Parliament elections two years ago.

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