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Election jobs

Presiding officer

The role

Presiding officers are responsible for the conduct of the ballot in the polling stations and they must have a good knowledge of the voting procedures. Along with poll clerks, they make up the Polling station team.

They must 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 until 10pm on polling day; therefore staff must arrive at the polling station early to set up the equipment in time for opening. In order to maintain the secrecy of the vote and safeguard the integrity of the process, they should not leave the premises during polling hours.

You will be working a 16 hour day, so you must provide your own refreshments and take appropriate breaks throughout the day to avoid tiredness. However, in order to maintain the secrecy of the vote and safeguard the integrity of the process, staff are not permitted to leave the premises during polling hours.



  • Comply with any instructions from the Returning Officer
  • Take charge of the running of the polling station
  • Ensure that all electors are treated impartially and with respect
  • Maintain the secrecy of the ballot at all times
  • Instruct and supervise the poll clerk(s) at the polling station

Before polling day

  • Attend a mandatory training session provided by the Electoral Services Office
  • Liaise with contact for the designated polling station well before polling day to confirm arrangements for key collection/opening and closing the building
  • Visit the polling station in advance to ensure polling day arrangements are in place
  • Make contact with poll clerk(s) to check travel arrangements to and from polling station and to brief poll clerks on the necessary procedures
  • In a multiple polling station, make contact with other presiding officer(s)
  • Collect the ballot box and contents before the poll and keep secure

Polling day

  • Transport ballot box and contents to polling station
  • Organise the layout of the polling station, taking all voter needs and access issues into account. It may involve some lifting to erect polling booths and move furniture
  • Be responsible for health and safety at the polling station for all staff and visitors
  • Ensure the polling station is opened on time
  • Ensure that all signs and instructions are clear, visible and remain in place
  • Account for, and be responsible for, all ballot papers, issued and un-issued
  • Check and mark electors’ electoral numbers in the register of electors and on the corresponding numbers lists
  • Issue ballot papers to voters
  • Ensure that voters cast their votes in secret and put them into the (correct) ballot box
  • Provide assistance to voters where appropriate
  • Receive postal votes delivered by hand
  • Monitor the activities of those entitled to be present in and outside the polling station

Close of poll

  • Ensure the polling station is closed on time
  • Supervise the dismantling of the polling station and ensure the building is returned to good order
  • Complete the ballot paper account and associated paperwork
  • Pack up documents in accordance with instructions given by Returning Officer
  • Deliver the ballot box and associated paperwork to the count location as designated by the Returning Officer

All staff will be required to sign their agreement to maintain the secrecy of the poll.



How to apply

You can apply for an election job at any time of the year. When you apply, tell us:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your contact details (email address, telephone number)
  • Your date or birth
  • Your national insurance number
  • Your bank account details (sort code and account number)
  • The position(s) you would like to apply for

Apply for an election job

Alternatively, request a form from us: contact Electoral Services

In the run-up to an election, we will write to everyone listed on our staff database and ask them to indicate their availability. If you are available, we will appoint you to a position and send you a letter

Only individuals who have a right to work in the United Kingdom and with no political affiliations are eligible to work at elections.

Election staff must not work on behalf of a candidate during an election campaign, or be related to any prospective candidate.

Last updated: ‎09‎/‎01‎/‎2020‎ ‎15‎:‎52‎