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8 Surprising Differences Between Voting In The UK And In The US

In the UK, you can vote by doodling a dick on a piece of paper. Maybe.

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1. In the US, after you vote you get a sweet sticker.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images
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And you can put the sticker on your face and look cool all day.

Robyn Beck / Getty Images

You don't get a sticker in the UK.

Britain is rubbish.
Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

Britain is rubbish.

2. The UK ballot is as simple as this.

An American one will usually look more like this.

As if you know whether Amy Burback or Kathy Buchholz would be better for the school board.
static.guim.co.uk

As if you know whether Amy Burback or Kathy Buchholz would be better for the school board.

3. In the US, depending on what state you're in, you either have to feed your ballot into a big machine...

Logan Mock-bunting / Getty Images

...or use an electronic voting machine...

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...or something else scary and complicated.

John Moore / Getty Images

In Britain, you just, like, stick it in the box.

Just a piece of paper in a normal box. Like this glamorous lady did on 18 December 1918, the first time women could vote in a general election.
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Just a piece of paper in a normal box. Like this glamorous lady did on 18 December 1918, the first time women could vote in a general election.

4. In the US, there are pretty strict rules about how to actually mark your vote.

Like this Minnesota ballot that was not counted because although the voter marked "Al Franken" they also wrote "Lizard People" all over the place.
minnesota.publicradio.org

Like this Minnesota ballot that was not counted because although the voter marked "Al Franken" they also wrote "Lizard People" all over the place.

This was the root of much chaos in the 2000 presidential campaign and Florida's "hanging chads".

Which gave the American people several weeks of round-the-clock news footage of people doing this.
Robert King / Getty Images

Which gave the American people several weeks of round-the-clock news footage of people doing this.

In the UK, though, the rule is only that you have to express a clear preference on the ballot.

So this person wrote "wanker" all over their ballot but their vote still counted for the "good guy".
imgur.com

So this person wrote "wanker" all over their ballot but their vote still counted for the "good guy".

So, like, you can literally draw a dick in a box and it counts. Probably.

Also – the reason I had to scribble out the names and logos of the parties here brings us to our NEXT WEIRD THING about voting in Britain vs the US...
Twitter: @alexhern

Also – the reason I had to scribble out the names and logos of the parties here brings us to our NEXT WEIRD THING about voting in Britain vs the US...

5. In the UK there are strict rules which pretty much prevent broadcasters from discussing the election while polls are open.

It's a bit less strict for non-broadcasters like BuzzFeed.

BBC Election Guidelines: coverage restricted to uncontroversial factual accounts such as the weather; no coverage of election issues

BBC Breakfast pretending that the election isn't happening is the best thing. A guest just mentioned it and it was all 'swiftly moving on'.

I love TV and Radio having to pretend the General Election is not happening on General Election Day. It is the most British thing, ever.

Whereas in America on polling day, the media go completely hysterical, reporting every controversy, exit poll, and #Informed #Citizen's #Opinion.

CNN / Via giphy.com

Here's Anderson Cooper beaming hologram will.i.am into the studio on election night in 2008.

6. In the UK, if you take a selfie (or any photo) in a voting booth you can be fined £5,000 or spend six months in jail.

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This is meant to protect the secrecy of the ballot. But in any case you CAN take one outside the polling station. You should especially do this if you have a dog.

In the US, the law varies from state to state.

instagram.com

Beyoncé shared her filled-in vote-by-mail ballot with the world in 2012, but people aren't sure if that was legal or not.

7. Campaigns get started in the US more than a year and a half before polling day.

Road trip! Loaded the van & set off for IA. Met a great family when we stopped this afternoon. Many more to come. -H

It's 19 months till the American presidential election and Hillary Clinton is already schlepping around Iowa with random babies.

In the UK, the campaign kicked off on 30 March, and everyone's voting by 7 May. That's less than six weeks.

And yet everyone in Britain is complaining about how sick of the election they are.
Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

And yet everyone in Britain is complaining about how sick of the election they are.

8. In the US, candidates are under constant scrutiny for their physical appearance and whether or not they seem "presidential".

Like at this TV debate in 1960, when Nixon is thought to have lost to JFK because he looked a bit sweaty.
Mpi / Getty Images

Like at this TV debate in 1960, when Nixon is thought to have lost to JFK because he looked a bit sweaty.

In the UK, however...yeah, it's pretty much the same.

The Sun