No pictures this time, but today I used a pencil to mark a ballot paper at my local polling station. Today is an election day in much of the United Kingdom, with national government elections in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and local authority elections in England. I voted in none of those; instead I voted in a referendum held concurrently, the first referendum held across England since 1975.
The referendum was to vote on whether or not to introduce a new voting system in Parliamentary elections. I won't go into the details of our electoral system but the choice was between retaining the current First Past the Post system and introducing an Alternative Vote system.
Readers may be slightly surprised to see that the voting process in Britain is still very simple. I mark the ballot with a pencil according to my preference with an X in the box. And that's it. No machines are used in the count; we still employ teams of people to count the votes at town halls across the land.
So there's your alternative use for a pencil: democracy. Not bad for a cheap HB stub on a bit of string....incidentally I voted for AV.