#DogsAtPollingStations Is Now Part Of Official Electoral Commission Advice

By James O Malley on at

Image Credit: @misheleneous

The evolution of British democracy is a story that takes place over a thousand years. We didn't earn our right to vote at the same time, and the traditions and rules that surround the process of picking our leaders also slowly changed over time.

From the signing of the Magna Carta in Runnymede, to the will of Parliament wresting power from the King, to the Great Reform Acts of the 19th Century, power was slowly transferred to the people. The 1872 ballot act gave us the concept of the secret ballot for the first time, and of course in the early 20th century we saw the Suffragettes bravely win the right for all people to vote.

And now, in 2017, this story continues as another important aspect of the democratic process has been codified as an important part of our democratic tradition.

I'm talking, of course, about #DogsAtPollingStations.

The hashtag emerged organically during the 2015 general election, and was repeated again during the EU referendum last year. And now the Electoral Commission, the body which oversees British elections, is officially including it in their election advice.

In a press release announcing a broader social media campaign of elections advice, the Commission gives the following specific shout-out to the newest, but most noble tradition of voting day:

"You are welcome to bring your dog along with you to the polling station, but unless they’re a guide dog they may have to be left outside. Follow the hashtag #DogsAtPollingStations on 8 June to see pictures of dogs patiently waiting for their owner to exercise their democratic right."

So remember tomorrow, it is your civic duty to take part in this most important electoral tradition.

[Mark Pack]