Elections and polling opportunities

Find out about opportunities to work in elections and polling.

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Two people counting votes at polling station.

Work around elections is unique and exciting and offers the opportunity to play an important role in the local community. 

Our elections team is always looking to recruit staff to fill vacancies at polling stations, postal vote opening sessions and the counting of the votes.

We would love to hear from you if you’re interested in being involved.

Whether it’s working to count those important votes or at a polling station to assist voters, we have roles to interest everyone.

Most main elections usually occur early May, but some can be called at any time of the year. We are expecting two large elections in 2024.

  • we have around 560 polling stations in North Yorkshire - it is a tall order keeping them staffed
  • we have around 90,000 postal voters in North Yorkshire - that is a lot of postal votes to process when they are returned
  • after everyone has voted, we have to verify and count all the votes cast

So why not join us and be part of a team who take a sense of pride in playing a role in supporting democracy - plus its great way to earn some extra money.

Working at the polling stations

Each station needs a presiding officer in charge with poll clerks assisting on polling day. A polling station must open at 7am and close at 10pm, so be aware it is a long day.

We pay polling station staff a minimum 16 hours, which includes some time for polling station set up and clear down, and we reimburse travelling expenses. Staff are not permitted to leave their stations, though comfort breaks will be possible throughout the day.

Training will be provided and this must be completed before taking up their appointment.

Presiding officer

Presiding officers are usually experienced polling station staff who have responsibility for the polling station, the ballot box and ballot papers, and should have a knowledge of the voting process. They must also manage a small team of poll clerks. 

Current rate of pay

£272 per day - £16 per hour.

Full duties of a presiding officer

Duties

  • attend training and any briefing sessions, and comply with returning officer’s instructions
  • collect ballot box and its contents before polling day and keep it secure
  • liaise with the polling station keyholder before polling day to confirm arrangements for opening and closing the premises
  • transport the ballot box and its contents to the polling station on polling day
  • open and close the polling station on time
  • organise the polling station layout, taking into account all voters’ needs
  • be aware of access issues and familiarise yourself with any special equipment or devices to help voters with disabilities 
  • take charge of the polling station, ensuring the secrecy and security of the ballot
  • be responsible for the health and safety of polling station staff, voters and visitors 
  • keep the polling station neat and tidy
  • instruct and supervise poll clerks 
  • ask voters to show their photo identification and check the photo is a reasonable likeness before issuing ballot papers
  • check voters’ identification is on the approved list of acceptable ID
  • where applicable, check voters’ ID in a private area 
  • when required, refusing to give a voter a ballot paper if they do not have an acceptable form of identification 
  • ensure voters can cast their vote in secret, free from influence and in a calm atmosphere
  • check and mark electors off in the polling station register and complete other official paperwork
  • give voters ballot papers and make sure they put them into the ballot box
  • help voters where appropriate, and support disabled voters to use any special equipment or devices
  • deal with special voting procedures as required, for example, dealing with anonymous voters, issuing tendered ballot papers 
  • accept completed postal vote packs handed in at the polling station
  • be polite and professional when dealing with all visitors to the polling station, remaining politically impartial at all times
  • maintain order in the polling station and calling for advice and help from the elections office where necessary 
  • manage the attendance of official observers and others entitled to be in the polling station, making sure they do not interfere with the voting process
  • monitor the activities of candidate/party supporters known as ‘tellers’ outside the polling place
  • account for all ballot papers issued and unissued, and complete a ballot paper account
  • complete polling station paperwork throughout the day and at once the poll has closed
  • once the polls have closed and all votes have been cast, supervise the dismantling of the polling station, leaving the room as you found it
  • transport the ballot box to the designated drop off location

Skills, knowledge and experience

  • good knowledge of the voting process
  • previous experience of working in a polling station on at least two occasions
  • good communication skills and ability to explain procedures to a range of people in a calm and assertive manner
  • commitment to customer care and equal opportunities
  • good administrative skills and attention to detail
  • punctual and reliable

Poll clerks

This role assists the Presiding Officer with the running of the polling station. They answer electors' questions and hand out ballot papers.

Current rate of pay

£189 per day - £11.80 per hour.

Full duties of the poll clerk

Duties

  • comply with instructions and attend training
  • help the Presiding Officer to set up the polling station, taking into account the needs of all voters, including:
    • put up signs, statutory notices and voter instructions inside and outside the polling station 
    • setting up polling booths
    • prepare the polling station for a 7am opening
  • be aware of access issues and familiar with any special equipment or devices to help voters with disabilities 
  • maintain the secrecy of the ballot
  • keep the polling station neat and tidy
  • ask voters to show their photo identification and check it is a reasonable likeness before giving out a ballot paper 
  • refer identification checks to the Presiding Officer if you are not sure an identification is valid
  • make sure voters can cast their vote in secret, free from influence and in a calm atmosphere
  • check and mark electors off in the polling station register and complete other official paperwork
  • give voters their ballot paper and make sure they put them into the ballot box
  • help with any other polling station duties when asked to by the Presiding Officer
  • be polite and professional when dealing with all visitors to the polling station, remaining politically impartial at all times
  • once the polls have closed and all votes have been cast, help to dismantle the polling station, leaving the premises as you found it

Skills, knowledge and experience

  • basic understanding of the voting process
  • good communication skills 
  • commitment to customer care and equal opportunities
  • good administrative skills and attention to detail
  • punctual and reliable
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Votes being counted at polling station.

Working at postal vote opening

Many people vote by post, and we have to open and check the many postal packs when they are returned. We need a team of people across North Yorkshire to do this. Postal vote opening sessions occur frequently in the 2 week period leading up to a poll.

Our main postal vote centres for large scale elections will be in Scarborough, Harrogate and Northallerton for 2024, though there are often other small elections in local areas anywhere in North Yorkshire.  

There will be many shifts available, over a 2 to 3 week period, these will vary in terms of hours and shifts but will be set out and confirmed prior to elections taking place. There may be both day and night shifts available 

Night shifts can be through the night into the early hours of the morning.

Postal vote opening assistant

Postal vote opening assistants usually work in pairs to help count daily returns of postal votes. Then the envelopes are opened and checks are done on the paperwork, before the ballot papers are entered into the verification and count after the close of poll.

You may be asked to work at all or some of the postal vote opening sessions.

Current rate of pay

Day rate of £13.17 per hour

Night rate of £19.20 per hour

Full duties of the postal vote opening assistants

Duties

  • comply with instructions and attend training
  • help the supervisors with daily set up
  • maintain the secrecy of the ballot
  • count postal packs returned each day as directed by a supervisor
  • open envelopes and retrieve personal identifiers and ‘envelope A’ containing the ballot papers, and bundle as per instructions
  • re-count papers as directed if required
  • maintain accurate batch records 

Skills, knowledge and experience

  • basic understanding of the voting process
  • good communication skills 
  • good administrative skills and attention to detail
  • punctual and reliable

Working at the count

After polling has closed, we have to verify and count all ballot papers received by post or voted on at polling stations. Depending on the election, counting may take place straight after the polls close at 10pm on polling day, or on the following day. 

Our main count centres for large scale elections will be in Harrogate, Northallerton and Scarborough for 2024, though there are smaller scale polls in local areas across North Yorkshire. 

The time of day the count takes place will vary depending on the election, usually there will be either a day count or a night count and this will be confirmed prior to the election taking place. 

Day count hours can vary but generally between the hours of 9am and 5pm.

Night count hours may vary but usually start from 9pm and will end when the count is done this could be as late at 6am.

Count supervisors

Count supervisors look after their own small team of count assistants and need to be well-organised and alert. Good numeracy skills and accuracy are essential. 

Current rate of pay

Day rate of £19.60 per hour.

Night rate of £29.40 per hour.

Full duties of the count supervisors

Duties

  • comply with instructions and, where necessary, attend training
  • maintain the secrecy of the ballot
  • act professionally and impartially at all times
  • supervisor a team of count assistants 
  • deal with general enquiries from candidates about the counting process being used 
  • count bundles of counted ballot papers for candidates as directed and identify doubtful ballot papers
  • collate totals of votes for candidates and rejected ballot papers using either spreadsheets or paperwork as instructed and submit totals for your team to the control table
  • complete other paperwork for your team as instructed
  • re-count if required

Skills, knowledge and experience

  • numeracy skills and attention to detail
  • ability to work under pressure
  • competent user of Microsoft Excel - for some but not all counts
  • punctual, reliable and professional
  • ability to work under pressure

Count assistants

Count assistants verify and count all the ballot papers. Concentration, speed and accuracy are the qualities we look for in our counters.

Current rate of pay

Day rate of £13.17 per hour.

Night rate of £19.20 per hour.

Full duties of the count assistants

Duties

  • comply with instructions and, where necessary, attend training
  • maintain the secrecy of the ballot
  • act professionally and impartially at all times
  • count ballot papers as directed by a supervisor
  • re-count ballot papers if required
  • when instructed, sort ballot papers for individual candidates/choices
  • identify doubtful ballot papers

Skills, knowledge and experience

  • numeracy skills and attention to detail
  • punctual and reliable
  • ability to work under pressure
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Counting votes at polling station.

Further information

You must be at least:

  • 18 years old to work in a polling station
  • 16 years old to work as a counting assistant or postal vote assistant, 18 years old if working past midnight (some sessions are past midnight)

For elections, it is the Returning Officer who employs casual election staff, rather than North Yorkshire Council. 

The Returning Officer is not permitted to employ anyone who is or has carried out duties on behalf of any political party, group or candidate at the election or has been found guilty of an electoral offence.

We pay election roles on a Pay as You Earn (PAYE) basis, which means that tax is deducted from earnings. If you are not a taxpayer, you are responsible for claiming the tax back from HMRC.

Any work that you do may affect:

  • any state pension you receive
  • any benefits you receive
  • how much tax you must pay

You must tell HMRC or your pension/benefit provider about your earnings.

How to apply

Complete the relevant online application form for your local or preferred area and a member of the team will be in touch. You only need to submit one form to be considered for multiple locations.

Apply for county-wide election and polling roles

Apply for Northallerton area election and polling roles

Apply for Scarborough area election and polling roles

Apply for Malton area election and polling roles

Apply for Ryedale area election and polling roles

Apply for Selby area election and polling roles

Apply for Harrogate area election and polling roles

Apply for Richmond area election and polling roles

Apply for Skipton area election and polling roles

Please contact the elections team directly for further information: elections@northyorks.gov.uk.

We cannot not guarantee employment.

All staff employed to work any roles will be provided with training.