With the general election looming, no matter who you vote for, there is something that we can all agree on. #DogsatPollingStations is one of the best trends on the internet. But what do you need to bare in mind when it comes to taking your pooch with you to cast your vote.
Is my dog allowed inside the polling station?
Generally, yes! Polling stations allow dogs through their doors as long as they are kept on a lead and follow the rules of the venue. According to Electoral Commission guidance, dogs are able to come to vote with their owners in an ‘accompanying’ role and watch their ballot being cast. Those with more than two dogs are advised that it may be best practice to let a member of staff at the polling station hold the lead, as multiple dogs may make it difficult for the owner to cast their vote.
However make sure you check with your local polling station beforehand if you can bring your dog. If the building has certain rules about dogs and generally do not allow dogs on the premises then you may find your furry friend being turned away.
Can I take a photo of my dog inside the polling station?
We advise keeping photos to outside the polling station. Taking a photo inside may inadvertently reveal how people have voted or how they are about to vote, which is against the law and could land you with a hefty fine or even jail time. So if you don’t want to get in trouble save the selfies and the #dogsatpollingstations photoshoot for outside.
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Can I dress my pooch up to show how I am voting?
There is a limit to how much you and your pooch can advertise how you are politically inclined. Showing up in party political clothing may mean that you get turned away from the polling station as not to intimidate other voters. This is also true for rosettes, as the only people allow to don them are the candidates and their polling agents. If you do want to dress your dog up then we recommend using accessories in the colour of your party.
Is my dog allowed to vote?
Unfortunately dogs are not allowed to vote, not even by proxy for you. When it comes to casting your ballot, that must be done by a human who is registered to vote and over the age of 18.
What if I can’t bring my dog into the polling station?
If you are unable to bring you four-legged friend with you then you can always ask a member of staff or fellow voter to help you out and wait with your dog outside whilst you vote. Also if it is a particularly cold day it might be a good idea to have your dog wearing a coat so that they don’t get too cold whilst they wait.
If you think voting may take a while, you can also leave your pooch with a trusted Rover sitter. They will be happy keep you pooch company whilst you do your civic duty. Book now at Rover.com.