The role of polling station staff is to ensure that voters are able to cast their vote in secret, free from influence and in a calm atmosphere.  Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm.  Staff are required to arrive at the polling station at 6am to set up the equipment, and are not permitted to leave the premises during hours of poll. Staff are required to work a 16 hour day, and must provide their own refreshments and take appropriate breaks throughout the day to avoid tiredness.  

Job purpose

To assist the Presiding Officer in the conduct of the ballot in the polling station

The role

  • Assist the presiding officer
  • Comply with instructions from the Returning Officer and his staff
  • Ensure all electors are treated impartially and with respect
  • Maintain the secrecy and security of the ballot

Principal duties and responsibilities

Before polling day

  • Provide electoral services with payment details, proof of identity and eligibility to work in the UK, if requested
  • Attend training session(s) provided by the Returning Officer
  • Liaise with the presiding officer before polling day

Polling day

  • Help erect polling booths - this will involve some lifting
  • Assist with the set up and layout of the polling station in preparation for the opening of the polling station at 7am
  • Keep the polling station neat and tidy at all times
  • Check the voter is on the register of electors and eligible to vote
  • Ask for and check voter identification before issuing ballot papers
  • Ensure voters understand the new voter identification requirements including what constitutes an acceptable form of ID
  • Ensure voters are able to present their ID in private when requested
  • Mark the electoral register and the voters electoral numbers in the corresponding numbers list 
  • Issue ballot papers to voters 
  • Assist the Presiding Officer in ensuring that voters cast their votes in secret and put them into the (correct) ballot box(es)
  • Support disabled voters use any special equipment or devices
  • Ensure that all voters are treated with respect and receive the same experience wherever they are and whatever time they vote
  • Answer voters’ queries in an impartial, helpful, friendly and professional manner
  • Carry out any other polling duties as required by the presiding officer – this may include ‘meeting and greeting’ voters at the entrance of the polling station, checking voters have ID (but not inspecting it at this stage) and managing queues

Close of poll

  • Help dismantle polling station and ensure the building is returned in a neat and secure state
  • Assist the Presiding Officer with the necessary close of poll procedures, if requested
  • Leave the polling station once the presiding officer advises you to do so

Extra information

  • You cannot be employed if you have carried out any duties on behalf of any political party or candidate at this election
  • You must not wear any colours relating to any political party

Person specification

Essential criteria

  • Ability to carry out work as instructed, even under pressure
  • Fully literate and numerate with excellent attention to detail
  • A team player with flexible attitude
  • Good timekeeping and able to travel to the polling station at the required times
  • Diplomacy and tact when working with members of the public
  • Ability to remain politically neutral

Desirable criteria

  • Experience of working at a polling station
  • A basic understanding of the electoral process
  • Be physically fit in order to lift and carry heavy polling station equipment