Next time don’t just pencil in your vote
Never mind whether you voted LEAVE or REMAIN in the EU Referendum. The much more important question is whether you used the PENCIL provided at the polling station to put your X on the ballot paper or if you were a bit of a rebel and used your own PEN.
Traditionally, polling stations have good old-fashioned pencils at each polling booth (usually attached to a piece of string to prevent them being pinched).
But apparently during the EU referendum some polling stations – including, we understand, the Brookfield Road one in Ashford – were infiltrated with pencils bearing a pro Brexit ‘Vote Leave’ type message, which were swiftly removed.
There were also ridiculous messages doing the rounds across the country on Twitter and other social media that people shouldn’t make their preference with a pencil as the X could be rubbed out, whereas a pen-written X could not.
We had two emails complaining about the use of pencils at Ashford polling stations, but an ancient member of the Nuts and Bolts team who has voted in many elections in his long life said: “I’ve always used the stumpy pencil, secured with a piece of string, whenever and wherever I have voted. In a way it’s part of the quirky, charming voting system we have.
“I love the way you can turn up at a polling station, not necessarily even with your polling card, say who you are, without having to actually prove your identity, and get given a voting slip to vote.
“So perhaps people should be more worried about the potential voting abuse in this than whether a pencil written cross could be rubbed out. Maybe it’s time we introduced an online voting system, which would undoubtedly be more secure.”
We understand Ashford Borough Council – in common with everywhere else – only provides pencils at all its 82 polling stations, but there is nothing to stop us making our mark with a pen if preferred.
And you don’t even necessarily have to cast your vote with an X. You can mark the box with a tick instead. The important thing is that your voting intention is clear.
So at the next election, why don’t we all be really rebellious and put a tick on the ballot paper, written with a PEN?
On several occasions we’ve highlighted the issue of Ashford’s dirty road signs.
One person who has long campaigned for them to be cleaned is keen cyclist Ted Prangnell from Kennington.
Ted sent us another example, this time of this grime-covered sign in Canterbury Road, Kennington. As he points out, such signs do not give a very good impression to visitors and obviously aren’t easily seen by cyclists and motorists.
Last week the the National Police Air Service tweeted an aerial image of a town centre in Kent taken from its helicopter, inviting people to guess where it was. The Nuts and Bolts aerial picture identification team were immediately on the case, identifying the town as… ASHFORD.
The giveaway was probably the distinctive Ashford police station building. With ID skills like ours, perhaps we should be applying for a job with the boys, and girls, in blue.
How many times a month do you say to someone “Where did I put that?”. Quite a lot, we’d suggest. And a new survey proves the point as apparently the average person in the South East loses more than 2,700 items in their lifetime – including 160 bits of clothing and 69 umbrellas, the research reveals.
A national study of 2,000 adults found we’ll also misplace 344 pens across a lifetime and on average lose four items a month.
Keys are the most commonly lost item, followed by mobile phones, pens and glasses.
And the average person from our region has to fork out £1,904 during their lifetime to replace items they have lost.
The research commissioned by My Nametags, a British manufacturer of name tags, found it’s not just an adult trait, with children losing seven items a month – most commonly school jumpers, school books, stationery, their socks and toys.
For adults, headphones, lipstick and memory sticks are also on the 20 most lost list.
Worryingly, the results also show that one in four people have even temporarily lost a car!
Pencils are provided for voters – but we don’t have to use them; centre, Ted Prangnell’s photograph of a dirty road sign; right, the aerial picture from the National Police Air Service helicopter was not that hard to identify for our crack unit of spotters