Gosport man told he cannot use pen to vote in EU referendum

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A voter in Gosport was told he was not allowed to use a pen when voting in today’s EU referendum.

Kieran Gell went to Lee Community Centre, in Lee-on-the-Solent, this morning and asked one of the voting officers if he could borrow his pen to vote.

But Mr Gell, 33, was told any vote marked with a pen would be void and not counted.

‘I was livid when he told me,’ said Mr Gell.

‘I had been intending to use a pen but left mine in the car.

‘When I asked the person there if I could use one of his, he said “no”. He said to me they had been told to refuse people asking for a pen.

‘He said any votes with a pen would not be considered.’

Mr Gell’s preference to use a pen comes amid calls on social media not to use pencils in case votes are rubbed out. However, there has been no evidence of this happening and the Electoral Commission says voters are welcome to use pens to vote rather than the pencils provided at polling booths.

A spokesman from Gosport Borough Council said all the officers were told this morning pens could be used.

‘After the social media campaign to get people to use pens, we informed all our officers this morning that people could use pens,’ he said.

‘We provide pencils because that’s what we do for all the votes and is standard procedure by the Electoral Commission.’