It seems like only 2 minutes ago we were visiting the polls for the last Election and here we are again, being asked to cast our vote on something that will affect our local areas as well as the whole country. It can feel like one of those high paying research studies that you do but without the pay! With local council due in May it’s the perfect time to grab yourself a nice little extra income for signing up to work as a Poll Clerk for your local council on those days.
For each polling event, local councils require a temporary increase in staff to cover the hours that polling stations are open and the count afterwards (this can be late into the night). Most councils will advertise their positions on their website but others will require you to give them a call to see if they have any positions available. The common positions are Poll Clerk, Senior Counting Assistant, Counting Assistant and Postal Vote Opening Clerks – for some it is possible to apply for multiple roles such as Poll Clerk and Counting Assistant.
What does a Poll Clerk do?
A poll clerk’s job is to help the Presiding Officer set up polling booths, check and mark each person off the list as they vote, stamp and issue the ballot papers to voters, make sure that voters cast their votes in secret, answer poller’s questions in a friendly and professional manner and show people who are unsure how to cast their vote; they must maintain the secrecy and security of the ballot at all times.
It’s a long day, usually from early morning (polling stations open from 7am) until at least 10pm (when the polling station closes). If you have applied to count the votes then that can go on until the early hours, depending on how quickly the votes are counted; this can get a little crazy.
Who can be a Poll Clerk?
Anyone over the age of 18 and literate is eligible to act as a Poll Clerk. If you are a member of a political party participating in the election, then you cannot be a Poll Clerk.
There is another requirement for applying as a Poll Clerk and that is applicants must be on the electoral roll – if you’re not, you really should be. If you’re not on the electoral roll you just need to contact your local Council and ask them to do it.
What is the pay like?
Pay for a regular poll clerk is around £200 for one day’s work, it does differ from council to council though. Other roles vary, some with set pay and others paid by the hour.
How do you apply?
Visiting your local council’s website is the best way to find out whether they are hiring for any positions during the listed events.
The work is pretty easy, albeit tiring and is certainly worth the money. Many companies will also offer you leave to work during an election so it’s definitely worth enquiring about. Check out the thread about it over on the forum HERE to see others who are stepping up this spring.