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

Responsible for the conduct of the ballot in the polling station and the management of polling staff

The role

  • Comply with instructions from the Returning Officer and his staff
  • Ensure the accurate delivery of the poll and account for all ballot papers
  • Take charge of the polling station
  • Supervise the poll clerk(s) at the polling station
  • 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) and briefing(s) provided by the Returning Officer
  • Liaise with contact person/key holder for your designated polling station well before polling day to confirm arrangements for key collection/opening and closing the building
  • Visit your polling station in advance to ensure polling day arrangements are in place
  • Make contact with your poll clerks, at least a week before, to check they know the location of the polling station and to make arrangements for the day, including arrival time, food etc.
  • Ensure you have access to a car which is safe and legal to be on the road, and properly licensed and insured for business purposes
  • Collect your ballot box(es) and equipment before polling day at your allocated day/time slot and keep secure

Polling day

  • Transport ballot box and contents to assigned polling station
  • Erect polling booths - this will involve some lifting
  • Organise the layout of the polling station taking all voter needs into account
  • Be aware of access issues at the polling station
  • Be responsible for health and safety at the polling station for all staff and visitors
  • Ensure the polling station is opened on time (7am) and advise your Polling Station Inspector
  • Ensure that all signs and instructions are clear, visible and remain in place
  • Keep the polling station neat and tidy
  • Assign and supervise the work of the poll clerk(s) and ensure that the correct procedure for voting is followed at all times
  • Account for, and be responsible for, all issued and un-issued ballot papers
  • Ensure that voter identification is asked for and checked before ballot papers are issued
  • Ensure voters understand the new voter identification requirements including what constitstutes an acceptable form of ID
  • Ensure voters are able to present their ID in private when requested
  • Be responsible for refusing a voter a ballot paper where no ID is presented, or you do not consider the ID to be a good likeness, or consider it to be a forgery
  • Ensure 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
  • Provide assistance to voters where appropriate
  • Receive postal votes delivered by hand and record as per instructed
  • Manage the attendance of those entitled to be present in the polling station, e.g. candidates, agents, representatives of the Electoral Commission and observers, and ensure they do not interfere with the voting process
  • Be helpful, polite and professional when dealing with all visitors to the polling station and remain impartial at all times
  • Monitor the activities of tellers outside polling places

Close of poll

  • Ensure the polling station is closed on time (10pm) having allowed all those in a queue at 10pm to cast their vote
  • Supervise the dismantling of the polling station and ensure the building is returned in a neat and secure state
  • Accurately complete the ballot paper account and all other paperwork including the Ballot Paper Refusal List and Voter ID Evaluation form
  • Pack up documents in accordance with instructions given by the Returning Officer
  • Allow the poll clerks to leave, when you do
  • Deliver the sealed ballot box(es) and all other equipment, paperwork and documents to the location as designated by the Returning Officer, promptly after the close of poll

Extra information

  • You will be visited by a polling station inspector to ensure that the polling station is open and being operated efficiently
  • 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

  • Experience of having worked as a poll clerk on at least two other occasions
  • Working knowledge of the electoral process
  • Ability to work independently under pressure
  • Good timekeeping
  • Previous customer service experience
  • Ability to remain politically neutral
  • Access to a car which is safe and legal to be on the road, and properly licensed and insured for business purposes
  • Ability to use a mobile phone which must be switched on throughout polling day

Desirable criteria

  • Previous line management or supervisory experience
  • Be physically fit in order to lift and convey ballot boxes and other heavy polling station equipment