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Understanding voting

The use of a lead pencil for voting

Summary

Learn why the Election Act requires the use of a lead pencil at polling stations.

When you vote, the election officers provide you with a specific pencil, approved by Élections Québec. This pencil has been repeatedly tested and chosen for its performance and because it is particularly well suited to the ballot paper. Élections Québec uses this pencil to avoid rejections and to preserve the secrecy of the vote.

  • The graphite used reduces the risk of dust marking the ballot elsewhere.
  • A lead pencil without an eraser prevents you from erasing your mark and putting it elsewhere.
  • A pencil will not bleed and mark your ballot in more than one place.
  • Since all electors use the same type of pencil, it is impossible to know who a person voted for.

No one can change your mark

Since you place your own ballot in the ballot box and the box is sealed and monitored at all times, no one can change the mark you have made.

Lead pencil marks are not altered by water. This means that they remain intact if the ballots accidentally get wet (e.g., in the event of water damage), despite all the precautions we take.

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