British voters who favor Brexit — Britain’s exit from the European Union — tend not to trust authority figures. And that distrust extends to the Brexit voting process itself. One poll found that 46 percent of Brexit supporters think the vote will "probably" be rigged, with 28 percent saying that MI5, Britain’s intelligence agency, could be involved.
One particular conspiracy theory has gained popularity this week: that authorities are supplying voters with pencils to help with subsequent vote-stealing. Many "Leave" supporters worry that the authorities will later rub out their votes and change them to support staying in the EU.
So some Leave supporters have taken to Twitter to encourage people to bring a pen with them to their polling place.
But there’s no evidence that the authorities are planning to erase anyone’s votes. British people have used pencils in previous elections without controversy. And ballot boxes are closely watched by people on both sides to prevent anyone from tampering with the vote.
As often happens, the initial paranoia has inspired a lot of counter-snark on Twitter. As I write this, most of the tweets with the hashtag #usepens are people mocking the pro-pen faction: