Presiding Officer

Job Description

Job Title: Presiding Officer

Department: Electoral Services

Responsible to: Electoral Services Manager

Purpose of the Post

Presiding Officers are responsible for the conduct of the poll in the polling station and they must have a good knowledge of voting procedures.

Polling stations are open from 7:00am to 10:00pm. On polling day, Presiding Officers are required to arrive at the polling station by 6:30am to set up the equipment. Presiding Officers are not permitted to leave the premises during polling hours in order to maintain the secrecy of the vote. You must provide your own refreshments and take appropriate breaks throughout the day to avoid tiredness.

Main Responsibilities

  • Complying with any instructions from the Returning Officer.
  • Take charge of the polling stations.
  • Ensure that all electors are treated impartially and with respect.
  • Maintain the secrecy of the ballot.
  • To supervise the work of the Poll Clerks(s)
  • Complete polling station paperwork.

Before Polling Day

  • You must attend a training session provided by the Electoral Services Team.
  • Liaise with the key holder for the designated polling station before election day to confirm the for key collection/opening and closing arrangements for polling day.
  • If working on a multiple polling station, to make contact with other Presiding Officer(s) to make arrangements for polling day.
  • Collect and check contents of the ballot box(es) prior to polling day.
  • To securely store the ballot box(es) and contents.

Polling Day

  • Transport the ballot box(es) to the polling stations.
  • Organise the layout of the polling station, including erecting the polling booths (this involves some lifting) taking voter needs into account.
  • Be aware of access issues at the polling station.
  • Be responsible for health and safety within the polling station for all staff and visitors.
  • Ensure that the polling station is opened on time.
  • Ensure that all signage and instructions are clear, visible and remain in place.
  • Keep the polling station neat and tidy.
  • Instruct and supervise the work of the poll clerk(s).
  • Account for and be responsible for all ballot papers (issued and unissued).
  • Check and mark the electors name on the register of electors and add their elector number to the corresponding numbers list.
  • Determine electors’ eligibility and issue ballot papers as required.
  • Ensure that voters cast their votes in secret and place them in the correct ballot box.
  • Receive and keep secure postal votes delivered by hand.
  • Manage the attendance of those entitled to be present in the polling station e.g. candidates, agents, representatives of the Electoral Commission etc. to ensure that they do not interfere with the voting process.
  • Be polite and professional when dealing with visitors to the polling station and remain impartial at all times.
  • Monitor the activities of tellers outside the polling stations.

Close of Poll

  • Ensure that the polling station is closed on time.
  • Supervise the dismantling of the polling station and ensuring that the building is returned in good order.
  • Complete the ballot paper account and associated paperwork.
  • Pack paperwork etc. as instructed by the Returning Officer.
  • Secure of arrange the securing of the polling station premises.
  • Deliver the ballot box and associated paperwork to the count location as instructed by the returning Officer.
  • You may be required to perform additional duties not listed above which are appropriate to your role and experience to ensure the smooth running of the election process. Job descriptions can be amended at the organisations discretion to ensure service needs are met.

Person Specification

Essential  Desirable
  • A basic understanding of the election process.
  • To have worked previously as a poll clerk on at least two occasions.
  • Experience of working on a range of elections e.g. local, county, parliamentary.
Skills/Personal Attributes
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to explain procedures to a variety of people.
  • Good personal presentation.
  • Professional manner
  • A commitment to customer care.
  • Good administration skills and attention to detail.
  • A team player and flexible attitude.
  • Calm under pressure.
  • Punctual and reliable.
  • Ability to lift polling booths/ballot boxes etc.
  • Must not have worked in support of a political party/candidate at the election whether paid or unpaid.
  • Be willing to attend training session.
  • Must not have been convicted of an offence under Electoral Legislation.
  • Acceptance of waiving of working time directive for period of employment.
  • Use of a vehicle to transport ballot boxes.