The Electoral Services department at Charnwood Borough Council is looking for expressions of interest to work at elections in the borough.

We are looking for enthusiastic and reliable individuals to play a part in the democratic process. There are a variety of election roles, ranging from opening postal votes, working in the polling station to counting votes after the close of poll.

Although these roles last for a very short period of time, ranging from a few hours to a few days at most, commitment to each role is essential to the successful delivery of an election. Therefore, although most of the roles do not require experience, they do require commitment. All roles are paid.

All appointed staff are required to sign an agreement to maintain the secrecy of the ballot and must not work on behalf of a candidate during an election campaign or be related to a prospective candidate.

A description of the different election roles can be found below followed by frequently asked questions.

To express an interest for any of the roles below, please complete the online form using the button below. Please note that expressing an interest does not guarantee a position, but we run a waiting list if we are oversubscribed.

Express an Interest for an Elections Role

Polling Station Staff

Polling station staff are responsible for the running of the polling station, issuing of ballot papers and maintaining the secrecy of the ballot. The Presiding Officer manages the polling station on polling day and is responsible for the ballot box. The Poll Clerk(s) assist the Presiding Officer and are the front-facing staff on the day.

All polling station staff are required to:

  • Attend a mandatory training session prior to polling day.
  • Be present at the polling station on polling day from 6:30am until close of poll at 10pm. It may be agreed that you will arrive earlier to set up depending on individual circumstances.
  • Arrange their own transport to and from the polling station.
  • Arrange their own postal or proxy vote should they be appointed to a polling station at which they do not usually vote.
  • Ensure all voters are treated impartially and with respect.
  • Maintain the secrecy of the ballot at all times.

Presiding Officer

Pay = £289 (20% uplift if election is combined)


  • Follow all instructions given by the Returning Officer.
  • Liaise with contacts to arrange access to the polling station in advance.
  • In a ‘split’ or ‘double’ polling station, liaise with the other Presiding Officer(s).
  • Visit the polling station in advance.
  • Collect the ballot box before polling day and keep it secure.
  • Organise the layout of the polling station (may require some manual lifting).
  • Instruct and supervise the Poll Clerk(s).
  • Supervise the marking of the register and issuing of ballot papers to voters.
  • Supervise the dismantling of the polling station at the close of poll.
  • Deliver the ballot box and associated paperwork to the count centre.

As this position requires significant responsibility, you must have considerable experience as a Poll Clerk at least. You must also have transport and access to a mobile phone for use on the day.

Poll Clerk

Pay = £200 (20% uplift if election is combined)


  • Follow instructions given by the Presiding Officer and the Returning Officer.
  • Set up the polling station (may require some manual lifting).
  • Ensure the polling station is neat and tidy at all times.
  • Check and mark the polling station register.
  • Issue ballot papers to voters.
  • Ensure voters may cast their vote in secret.
  • Help to dismantle, clean and ensure the polling station is returned to good order.

No experience is required for this position and full training will be given in advance.

Postal Vote Opener

Pay = £13 per hour


  • Preferably attend all sessions, including a session held after the close of poll at 10pm on polling day.
  • Ensure the secrecy of the ballot at all times.
  • Open and check contents of postal vote envelopes.
  • Count and tally ballot papers statements and ballot papers received.
  • Working under scrutiny from candidates and agents.

Postal Vote Openers are employed on an hourly basis on days and times designated by the Returning Officer. These days are usually over the two weeks leading up to polling day.

While this role does not require prior experience, it does require commitment and flexibility as sessions may vary in length or may be cancelled at short notice.

If there are more postal votes received than expected on the run up to the election it may be necessary to arrange additional postal vote opening dates.

Count Staff

Count staff are responsible for verifying and counting all ballot papers after the close of poll. Count staff work in teams with a supervisor who will provide a short briefing before the count begins. While prior experience is not required, duties are undertaken in a pressurised environment and require speed and accuracy.

The duties of the count staff are split into three roles: Ballot Box Handlers, Overnight Count Assistants and Daytime Count Assistants. The length of time you will be required to work may vary depending on the type and turnout of the election.

Ballot Box Handler

Pay = £17.25 per hour


  • Attend the verification of the ballot papers at the close of poll.
  • Run ballot boxes, sacks of unused ballot papers and equipment from cars into the count centre.
  • Direct and supervise queuing Presiding Officers.
  • Transport ballot boxes from the ballot box receipt desk to Count Supervisors.

Overnight Count Assistant

Pay = £17.25 per hour (4 hours pay is guaranteed regardless of count length) (NB night time runs from 9.30pm to 8am)


  • Attend the verification of the ballot papers at the close of poll.
  • Ensure all ballot papers received from the polling stations are accounted for.
  • Work into the early hours of the morning if required.
  • Work accurately under scrutiny of candidates and agents.

Please note: Due to the hours of working, we will not employ anyone as an Overnight Count Assistant if they are under 18.

Daytime Count Assistant

Pay = £11.50 per hour (4 hours pay is guaranteed regardless of count length)


  • Attend the counting of ballot papers after polling day.
  • Divide ballot papers into votes for individual candidates and count.
  • Recount where required.
  • Work accurately under scrutiny of candidates and agents.

Frequently Asked Questions

When are the elections taking place?

There are different types of elections which take place across the UK. These elections can be nationwide, such as a UK Parliamentary General Election and local, such as local council elections.

There are scheduled elections which we can plan for several years in advance. For example, all Borough councillors in Charnwood are elected once every four years.

There are also unscheduled elections which can be caused by a seat becoming vacant before the term of office has ended. For example, if a local councillor resigns before the end of their term then there could be a by-election in that particular election to fill the vacant seat.

You can find more information on our Forthcoming Elections webpage.

Who runs the elections?

The elections are run by the Electoral Services department in Charnwood Borough Council. This is a small department responsible for making sure that the election is run in a way that is safe and secure. The Electoral Services department will hire polling station staff, count and verification staff and postal vote opening staff to help run the election.

Who is the Returning Officer and what do they do?

The Returning Officer is responsible for overseeing elections. For Charnwood Borough Council, Rob Mitchell is the Returning Officer as well as the Chief Executive.

How does voting work?

In order to vote at an election, you must be registered to vote. There is a deadline to register to vote for any given election, so it is important that you are registered to vote by this deadline. There are several different ways that you choose to vote:

  1. In person at a polling station.
  2. By post, this means that your ballot paper is posted to an address.
  3. By proxy, this means that you can nominate somebody that you trust to vote on your behalf.

You can find more information on our How to Vote webpage.

What is a polling station?

A polling station is a particular room or area within a building which has been chosen by the Returning Officer. The Returning Officer has chosen this particular space as they believe that it is a suitable venue for the polling day to be held. This is the designated space where electors will be asked to complete their ballot paper in private and put their ballot paper into a secure ballot box.

Where are the polling stations?

There are many polling stations around Charnwood, approximately 80. You can find out your polling station by looking at the poll card that we send to you at election time. You can also find out your polling station by visiting the council’s My Charnwood webpage and entering your address.

What are the rates of pay and when will I be paid?

The rate of pay changes for every election and they will be confirmed before allocation of a role. Payments are always made after an election. Details of when staff will be paid will be outlined in the allocation letter that they will receive if they are appointed to a position.

Is there a selection criteria or is it first come first served?

Experience is a consideration, particularly for some roles more than others. For example, you must have worked as a Poll Clerk on several occasions in order to be considered for a Presiding Officer position. However, experience is not necessary for other roles, such as Poll Clerk, Postal Vote Opener or count staff. For roles such as Poll Clerk, Postal Vote Opener and count staff, experience is a consideration, but we also consider other factors, such as location, when deciding who to allocate to a particular role or polling station.

If you have any other questions, please contact Electoral Services.

Last updated: Fri 22nd March, 2024 @ 15:37