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6 May 2015Did you know?

Ballot Box
  1. The election is traditionally held on a Thursday. But this is only a convention as the prime minister can call a general election for any day.It has been suggested that this tradition arose as the best of several circumstances: Friday pay-packets would lead to more drunken voters on Fridays and weekends; having the election as far after a Sunday as possible would reduce the influence of Sunday sermons; many towns held markets on Thursdays, thus the local population would be travelling to town that day anyway.

  2. You can take your dog to the polling station as long as they don't disrupt the vote." The Electoral Commission gives furry friends the thumbs up in an "accompanying" role. Anyone with two or more dogs can ask polling station staff to look after them during the voting process. If you're planning to ride to cast your vote, please note horses and ponies do need to be secured outside the station.

  3. Roughly three ballots in every thousand are rejected at the count. In the 2010 general election, 81,879 (0.28%) of ballot papers were rejected.

  4. It is thought that pieces of paper were first used for voting in Rome in 139 BCE.

  5. The highest voter turnout was in 1950 with a turnout of 83.9%.

  6. The first women elected to the commons was Countess Markievicz. She represented Sinn Fein and refused to take up her seat in the Commons. The first woman elected to the commons who did take up her seat was Nancy Astor in 1919.

  7. The first ethnic minority MP was Mancherjee Bhownagree who won Bethnal Green for the Conservatives in 1895.

  8. There is only one clear rule for forming a government in the hung parliament, and even that is a loose one: the politician who can tell the Queen that he has a workable majority in the House of Commons is the one the Queen will authorise to form a government. The guidelines come from a series of memos written by Sir Robert Armstrong, the prime minister's private secretary in 1974.

  9. According to the Hansard Society, 32 per cent of the public think there should be an early second election if parliament is hung;27 per cent favour a coalition;and 23 per cent prefer minority government.

  10. The estimated cost of the 2010 general election to the public purse was £113.2 million. This breaks down to £28.6 million for the cost of distributing candidates' mailings and £84.6 million to carry out the voting process. This doesn't include the money political parties spend campaigning.

  11. The Queen and members of the royal family can vote but choose not to because it is considered unconstitutional. The Queen must remain political neutral, since her government will be formed from whichever party can command a majority in the House of Commons.