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LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s parliamentary election (all times local):
So what is Elmo doing at Prime Minister Theresa May’s polling station?
The country’s leader was photobombed by a person dressed as the Sesame Street character as she cast her ballot with her husband Philip on the outskirts of Maidenhead, her constituency.
The Elmo costume was worn by the mother of Bobby Smith, a fathers’ rights protester, who has used the character to highlight his custody dispute.
Smith, 34, a truck driver, adopted the character as the figurehead of his campaign because by combining the first two letters of his two daughters’ first names he could spell Elmo.
His case was featured on the website of the campaigning group, Fathers4Justice.
Many voters are thinking about security as they cast ballots in Britain’s general election just days after three extremists killed eight people at London Bridge and nearby Borough Market.
Polls opened nationwide at 7 a.m. to select lawmakers for the House of Commons. The vote was supposed to be dominated by Britain’s pending departure from the European Union, but voters are anxiously aware of the threat the country faces from international terrorism following attacks in London and Manchester.
Voter Rachel Sheard, who cast her ballot at a polling station in Borough High Street, says that while the EU was supposed to be at center stage, “I don’t think that’s in the hearts and minds of Londoners at the minute, (not) nearly as much as the security is.”
Polling stations have opened across Britain in an election to choose a new government.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (0600GMT to 2100GMT) Thursday as voters choose 650 lawmakers for the House of Commons.
Prime Minister Theresa May called the snap election in hopes of increasing the Conservative Party’s slim majority in Parliament, and strengthening her hand in European Union exit talks.
The campaign did not go to plan. May was criticized for lackluster campaigning and two deadly attacks turned the election into a debate about national security.
May says the Conservatives will build a “stronger, fairer and more prosperous Britain,” while opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he would govern “for the many, not the few.”
Polls suggest Labour has narrowed the Conservatives’ lead.