Friday, December 13, 2019

The UK has the best voting tradition: dogs at polling stations

British Voters Go To The PollsTwo very good dogs outside a polling station in England on December 12, 2019. | Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

Forget politics, focus on the puppies!

The United Kingdom is voting in one of the most consequential elections in years, with the outcome determining the future of Brexit and potentially reshaping the UK’s place in the world.

But forget all that for a second, and look at all these good dogs!

#Dogsatpollingstations to be exact, which has become something of a voting day tradition in the UK. It’s pretty simple: People go to cast their vote, they bring their pups along with them, then they snap a picture outside the polling station.

It is a pure and nonpartisan respite from politics — at least until the polls close.

Thrilled to report an exceptional (and very good) turn out at Dulwich Village Polling #dogsatpollingstations

— Kate Turner (@Kate_Turnr) December 12, 2019

It’s hard to get a sense of how this all started, but the tradition really seems to have taken off after the 2016 Brexit referendum on whether to leave or remain within the European Union.

The UK has voted quite a lot since then — 2017 general elections, the European elections this spring, and this current vote — and voters have continued to indulge the internet with adorable photos of their civic-minded doggos. (And the occasional horse.)

Forget politics, this is the main reason to log onto Twitter today #dogsatpollingstations

— smitch (@Smitch2015) December 12, 2019

This 2019 election is, in a lot of ways, a referendum on Brexit. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Conservatives — who have been leading the polls, and look as if they might win — have promised to “get Brexit done” and take the UK out of the European Union by the current January 31, 2020 deadline.

Their main challenger, the Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, has tried to shift the conversation away from Brexit to other issues like the Britain’s National Health Service. But the party has said that, if it can get back into power, it will renegotiate a brand-new Brexit deal and then put it back to the British people in a second referendum, where they can decide to leave with this new deal or stay in the EU.

(For more on the 2019 elections, read Vox’s explainer.)

Johnson brought his pooch into the polling station (which is allowed, as long as they are good boys and girls). Johnson later tried to get in on the craze with his own #dogsatpollingstations post.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at a central London polling station to cast his vote, along with his dog, Dilyn

— Reuters (@Reuters) December 12, 2019

#dogsatpollingstations #VoteConservative

— Conservatives (@Conservatives) December 12, 2019

Corbyn posed in front of the polling station sign after he voted. He did not have a dog but a protester dressed in an Elmo suit tried to crash his photo, and it was wild.

Elmo v Jeremy Corbyn’s security is the video we all need on polling day #GeneralElection2019 #GE2109

— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) December 12, 2019

Corbyn also tried a canine-related get-out-the-vote message, so between this and Elmo, we’ll give it to him.

Real change is paw-sible.
You know what to do. #VoteLabourToday

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) December 12, 2019

Plenty of other people who will not be prime minister joined in, and that’s what makes it great, especially if those people put their pets in festive holiday outfits.

Loving these festive pups visiting their polling station!
Sandy the Chihuahua visited Catterall village hall in Lancashire with her owner Oscar Heidi the terrier stopped off at St Margaret's Community Centre in Prestwich Send in your political pooches! #dogsatpollingstations

— BBC North West (@BBCNWT) December 12, 2019

All done and dusted - Christmas Dogs at Polling Stations #dogsatpollingstations #christmasdogsatpollingstations

— peteway (@peteway) December 12, 2019

#dogsatpollingstations it may be raining but Millie is proud to have her bark heard this Christmas #ElectionDay

— Sewing Loon (@Sewingloon) December 12, 2019

#dogsatpollingstations in their finest Christmas jumpers

— Ruthie Foulis (@RuthieFoulis) December 12, 2019

#Labour For the pack, not the fat cats. @jeremycorbyn @UKLabour #dogsatpollingstations

— Alistair MacLeod (@amacstudios) December 12, 2019

Some voters tried to get the #dogsatpollingstations trend going in the US during the 2016 and 2018 elections, but it just hasn’t really stuck.

So look at more of these UK doggies, and ask yourself, America: Do we still really want to be doing voting sticker selfies in 2020?

My boys went with their mate Mickey to do a heckin' democracy #dogsatpollingstations @shift_plusone

— Abbie Christmas ❄️ (@PamSandwiches) December 12, 2019

Office dog Spud knows how to work a photo op #DogsAtPollingStations

— Dogs Trust (@DogsTrust) December 12, 2019

#GeneralElection2019 #dogsatpollingstations Buffy says vote to get the Tories out!

— Louie Stowell (@Louiestowell) December 12, 2019

“It’s a bit cold for all this mum. ”#DogsInPollingStations #DogsAtPollingStation

— Helen Barberton (@henkiebarbin) December 12, 2019

Get out in there in the rain and
VOTE VOTE VOTE!!! humans ✊ #GeneralElection2019 #GE2109 #VoteTheToriesOut #dogsatpollingstations

— Sarah JS (@boom1965) December 12, 2019

Dexter said get the tory bastards out just before I took this #dogsatpollingstations

— bey (@charlieherrick_) December 12, 2019

She went for a weird pose, but each to their own. #dogsatpollingstations

— Nick Thompson (@NickThompson20) December 12, 2019

When your morning walk turns into your democratic right #dogsatpollingstations @BBCNews

— Rich (@lav_rich) December 12, 2019

Max would like you to know that he also had a blue jumper at home but decided that wasn’t the fit today... #ForTheManyNotTheFew #dogsatpollingstations #labour @jeremycorbyn

— Darcey (@dxrcey) December 12, 2019

Here we go fingers crossed! Billy Pugwash is ready for a Labour Government #dogsatpollingstations

— Anna Hindle (@hindleanna) December 12, 2019

YOU KNOW WHAT DAY IT IS!!☺️☺️ #dogsatpollingstations

— Eddie of Oxford (@PeopleOfUK) December 12, 2019
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