A conspiracy theory behind a notice at Polling Stations

I’ve stood outside many a polling station in my time. At the recent General Election I saw a notice outside the polling station I was at that I’d not seen previously. The photo below shows the notice, which says,

For ease of writing and reliability, pencils are provided in the polling booths,

However, voters may use their own pens or other writing implements if they prefer.

Why is this notice necessary? It seems there’s a conspiracy theory behind the need for the notice [BBC report of November 2016 gives some background], described in most daily newspapers during the election, and HERE in the Daily Telegraph, an extract of which is,

….. some voters – especially certain supporters of Brexit – were urging people to use a pen to cast their vote lest their pencilled choice was rubbed out and altered.

Among the wild theories last year was the suggestion that pencil-written ballot papers may be erased as part of an MI5 conspiracy to remain in the EU.

The theory emerged after a YouGov poll asked people about “some things that people have said about the EU referendum campaign”, including “it is likely that the EU referendum will be rigged”.

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