Five facts you might not know about elections

Last updated at 17:34

From Elmo to dogs at polling stations - general elections might not be as dull as you think.

Politicians are now preparing for the next UK election on December 12, so here are some facts that might make it a bit more interesting!

'Elmo' once tried to become an MP
Theresa May waiting alongside fellow candidates including Elmo and Lord Buckethead at the Maidenhead election results in 2017Reuters
Lord Buckethead, Alan "Howling Laud" Hope and Elmo stood against Theresa May in 2017

Ok it wasn't the real Elmo, but a man called Bobby 'Elmo' Smith.

He tried to become the Member of Parliament (MP) for Maidenhead back in 2017 but lost out to former Prime Minister Theresa May.

He only managed to get three votes.

And he wasn't the only person hoping to represent the area, Lord Buckethead was another candidate there that year.

Similarly, the former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron had an unusual opponent in his Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency - Mr Fishfinger.

Mr Farron and Mr Fish FingerGetty Images

Almost anyone can put themselves forward to become an MP.

They need to meet a certain criteria though including being over 18 years old. They also need at least 10 people, from the place where they'll be standing, to put their name forward.

They need to pay a £500 deposit too!

Voting in a caravan?!
A caravan being used as a polling stationBarcroft Media via Getty Images
This caravan was used as a polling station at Melton Mowbray in 2017

Millions of adults in the UK have registered to they need somewhere to go and do it.

It's a lot of people so different places, including schools and village halls, are used as polling stations.

But there have also been some other more unusual places, such as a caravan, garage, laundrette, pub and boxing ring!

Horsing around
A dog and horse at polling stationsGetty Images
Are horses allowed at polling stations?

You might have seen some of the really cute pictures people post of their dogs when they've gone to vote.

It's because pooches are allowed at polling stations, as long as the building usually permits them. Sometimes there's even a staff member to look after them!

However, if someone wants to bring a horse or pony along, they have to be chained up outside.


Pencils only please!
A pencil ticking a ballotGetty Images
While only pencils will be supplied, voters can bring their own pen

Pencils are usually given out at polling stations for voters. It's because if pen ink is used, it could smudge or leak into another box.

People can still bring their own pen though.

Voters can change their mind

Sometimes choosing who to vote for in an election can be a really difficult decision to make.

If a voter thinks they've picked the wrong person or they've had a change of heart, they can try again, but only if they haven't put their paper in the ballot box.

They can explain to the polling station staff what's happened and they'll then cancel their paper and give them a new one.


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