Presentation on theme: "Polling station staff training session"— Presentation transcript:
1 Polling station staff training session Local government elections in England and the referendum on the voting system for UK Parliamentary elections – 5 May 2011AimThis PowerPoint presentation has been designed to assist with the briefing of polling station staff for the combined referendum and local government elections in England. This presentation refers to the polling station handbook and polling station quick guide produced by the Electoral Commission to support this election and referendum.Additional MaterialsPolling station handbook, Polling station quick guide.EquipmentPowerPoint, flip chart, sundries box, notices, ballot papers, ballot box, sample paperwork.
2 Counting Officer Electoral Services Manager IntroductionCounting OfficerElectoral Services ManagerIntroduce yourself and anyone else involved in the briefing session.If you have any key staff who deal specifically with polling stations and or staff issues introduce them and/or give key contact details – often encourages people to call with questions or problems when they know exactly who it is they need to contact.
3 Objectives of the training session Your role is key – you are the customer service face of the election and referendum.At this session we will:outline what we expect you to do on polling daydiscuss the voting proceduresthink about health and safety issueshighlight a number of administrative arrangementsThe election and referendum is an event where every polling station throughout the UK will play a part in enabling people to have their say. Your role is vital in ensuring voters, candidates and campaigners have confidence in the election and referendum process.Highlight the importance of polling station staff being prepared for and confident about their duties.
4 Key aims for the election and referendum that the polls are consistently administeredthat the process is transparentthat the polls are professionally deliveredthat they produce accurate results in which all stakeholders are confidentthat all voters have a good experience, with any person who is entitled to vote being able to do so
5 Voting at the local government elections Local government elections in England are conducted using the first-past-the-post electoral system.Voters have one or more votes, depending on how many candidates are to be elected to represent an electoral division/ward, and should place a cross in the box to the right of the name of the candidate(s) for whom they wish to vote.Display a large copy of an example of how the ballot papers will look like (explaining that the actual ballot papers can’t be finalised until the nominations are closed) and how the ballot papers will be finished (e.g. stapled, loose and banded etc.).
6 Overview of the Referendum A referendum is a direct vote in which the electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal.On 5 May there will be a referendum on the voting system for UK Parliamentary elections.Voters have one vote and should mark a cross (X) in either the ‘yes’ or the ‘no’ box on the ballot paper.Display a large copy of an example of what the referendum ballot paper will look like and how the ballot papers will be finished (e.g. stapled, loose and banded etc.).
7 Provision of voter information on the referendum in response to questions on what the referendum is about you should be politically neutral and in no way be or be interpreted to be supporting one option or the otheruse the FAQs document and take care not to stray from the provided answersWhile it will be entirely appropriate for staff to explain to voters how to mark the referendum ballot paper, there are aspects relating to the subject matter of the referendum where it would be inappropriate for polling station staff to comment.Provide all polling station staff with a copy of the FAQs document - Information to voters in polling stations on the referendum on the voting system for UK Parliamentary elections. The answers provided must be used by polling station staff to respond to any questions on what the referendum is about.Polling station staff must not be provided with copies of any other materials covering the subject matter of the referendum, which includes copies of the Commission’s public information booklet.Where questions are more complicated and cannot be answered by the answers in the FAQs document, direct voters to the Electoral Commission at or on
8 It is essential that you… act impartially at all timescomply with any instructions issued by the Counting Officerensure the secrecy and security of the ballotThe outcome of the elections and referendum must deliver a fair and unchallenged result. There is no room for error!Reinforce - If in doubt about anything call the elections team.
9 The Presiding Officer – management of the polling station Liaise with the key-holder of the buildingOrganise the layout of the polling stationInstruct and supervise the work of the Poll ClerksAccount for all the ballot papers, ballot boxes and paperworkAim of this slide is to highlight that the PO is in-charge of proceedings on the day.Emphasise that both Poll Clerks and Presiding Officers must work together to understand their respective roles and, where required, carry out each others duties other than those listed below:Instructing a police officer to remove someone from the polling stationAsking the prescribed questionsLimiting the number of accredited observers present at any one timeMonitoring the activities of the campaigners and tellers who may be present outside the polling station
10 The Poll Clerk – general duties Assist with the layout of the polling station and prepare for the opening of the pollBe polite and professional in dealing with the votersCheck that electors are eligible to vote in the referendum and at that polling stationUnderstand the process for issuing ballot papersReinforce the above messages with reference to the polling station handbook and quickguide.
11 Countdown to polling day Essential tasksVisit polling place and check out contact and access arrangementsCheck out arrangements for ballot box collection and check contents as soon as possibleContact other members of the teamDress code – ensure clothing reflects professionalism and impartiality but is also comfortableReinforce slide.Presiding Officers should be making contact with the key holder on at least two occasions: one early on and one near to the day.Think aboutGetting the keys, alarm codes, access, facilities, furniture. Make sure any problems with contact are highlighted to elections team immediately.Presiding Officers should also be making contact with Poll Clerks on at least two occasions. Staff problems such as possible sickness should always be referred to the elections team.If ballot papers are collected in advance of polling day by Presiding Officers, these should be checked in advance to ensure the ballot papers are numbered in sequence and match those pre-printed on the CNL(s) and are stored securely as they do, of course, carry the official mark. Check the registers are the correct ones for the polling station.
12 Polling station inspectors A point of contactSupplies of stationery and equipmentResponsible forChecking layout of stationsChecking things are running smoothlyBeing aware of and dealing with queuesCollecting any returned postal votesDistributing payments (if appropriate)Contact numbers [ ……………. ]Use this slide to outline the plans for polling station inspectors / what their responsibilities are.Outline the kinds of things they should be talking to the inspectors about.
13 Risks Can’t make contact with key-holder Can’t gain access to the polling stationStaff failing to turn up or being lateProblems affecting the display of noticesWrong registers allocated to the stationThe ballot paper numbers do not match those pre-printed on the CNLTendered ballot papers wrongly issuedQueues building up at the close of pollIt’s the POs duty to make sure any problems are dealt with and are not ignored.Discussion – discuss how the risks on the slide could be mitigated (emphasise that PO’s job starts before polling day). Could use flipchart.If you can’t make contact don’t leave it – contact the elections office.Arrange the time with the key-holder that you need to gain access to the station – 6.30amMost issues with getting access are due to lack of contact – make sure it doesn’t happen.Always ring if there are problems such as car failure. These things happen but elections team need to know. Make sure all staff know to be there at 6.30am to help set up.
14 Setting up, layout and who can enter the polling station
15 Setting up the polling station Layout / notices (see set-up checklist in Appendix 11 of the Polling station handbook)must work primarily for the voterwalk route voter expected to followaccessible to all votersLocation of ballot box(es)accessible and secureArrange each set of ballot papers in numerical orderTellers, campaigners and agentswho can enter the polling station?Sealing the box(es)Reinforce slide – if these aspects are all sorted at the outset, the day will run smoothly.Think aboutaccess to and within the polling station – clear and wide enough space to turn a wheelchair around inside [point to polling station set-up list in Appendix 11 to polling station handbook]position of notices – can people see them? Ensure the required notice is posted in the polling booth [SHOW NOTICE]ballot box – accessible but safe, the PO must be able to see it clearly at all timesKeep ballot paper books organised to help with issue, this will also help with calculations for the ballot paper accountKeep an eye on any people gathered outside, make sure they don’t impede accessPerhaps think of an area of the polling station where polling agents and observers can be positioned so that they can oversee proceedings but not get too close to put voters off.Practical Demonstration - how to put the lid on and seal the ballot box. Agents are not allowed to attach seal at the opening, but should be invited to observe the sealing if present.Notices / polling station signs / equipment – have a couple of tables set out with all the polling station equipment so that people can see it and ask how anything is used or what things are for.
16 Polling station layout Describe the layout and take questions.
17 Polling station layout Describe the layout and take questions.
18 Who can enter the polling station? VotersCounting Officer and staffCandidates and agentsReferendum agentspolling agentsPolice officers on dutyRepresentatives of the Electoral CommissionAccredited observersUnder 18s accompanying votersCompanions of voters with disabilitiesHighlightObservers and Electoral Commission Representatives will have photographic ID issued by the Electoral Commission (see next slide).Companions of voters with disabilities must be 18 years or over and either a close relative (father, mother, brother, sister, spouse, civil partner, son or daughter), or a qualified elector. Must fill in a declaration (SHOW COPY)Staff need to be careful to preserve the distinction between staff and candidates/agents so electors are clear when they come in.Discussion pointCan tellers wear rosettes with party names / candidates?Can the media enter the polling station to film a candidate/campaigner voting?
19 Two types of ID issued by the Electoral Commission Accredited observers & Commission Representatives do not need to give advanced warning of their visit but do need to provide you with ID when they come into the station. Silver badges (ie those issued to accredited observers) will have a start and expiry date, as well as a reference number above the picture.Observation is an important part of the election and referendum process and care should be taken not to obstruct it in any way. POs can manage access in case of overcrowding by e.g. having a rota system in place. But reinforce that POs not entitled to bar all observers, only limit numbers present. If numbers are limited, this should be recorded in the polling station log.Refer POs to EC publication Observers at UK elections: (guidance for POs can be found at the bottom of the page, under the heading: Returning, Counting and Presiding Officers)
20 Customer care Show a personal interest Be helpful and approachable Listen and empathise with themAllow them to put their point across before respondingDon’t say ‘No’, tell them what you can do for them and what they can doBut the election rules and the referendum rules must be followed at all times, no matter how insistent, upset or angry they areIf in doubt, contact the elections officeReinforce slide.It is all common sense but voters that feel comfortable with the voting experience are more likely to participate regularly.Having a positive and empathetic attitude can often help to diffuse difficult situations. But, also make sure you do not lead voters to vote in a specific way when offering assistance.The rules must always be followed - if in doubt, call the elections office.
21 Customer care (cont’d) Ensure that the voting process is accessible to all:layout must work for all voters, including wheelchair usersstationery provided in alternative languages and formats should be clearly visibleyou must be able to provide information to disabled electors on options for voting aided and unaidedReinforce slide.Ensure that any large print ballot papers, tactile voting template, magnifying glasses, easy-read/alternative format literature are all visible and available when people enter the station.Run through options for disabled voters who need assistance: companion, PO, tactile template.Discussion pointWhat if an elector cannot gain access to the polling station?
22 Tactile voting template Tactile template needs to be clearly visible and you should be confident in using itHow to useDemonstrationFor existing devices to be used with the referendum ballot paper, they will need to be lined up with the bottom of the paper rather than the top.
23 Using the electoral register and corresponding number list(s) Who can and cannot vote?Using the electoral register and corresponding number list(s)
24 Who is eligible to vote at the polling station in the local government elections? Electors with no letters or dates before their nameElectors who are 18 years of age or over on the day of the election – date on or before polling day before their nameElectors with a ‘G’ before their nameElectors with a ‘K’ before their nameElectors with an ‘L’ before their nameElectors who have registered anonymously - will have an ‘N’ instead of a nameG = Citizen of European Union who is only entitled to vote at local government elections and in devolved institution electionsK = Citizen of the European Union who is entitled to vote at European Parliamentary elections, local government elections and in devolved institution electionsL = Peer who is entitled to vote at European Parliamentary elections, local government elections and in devolved institution elections24
25 Who is eligible to vote at the polling station at the referendum? Electors with no letters or dates before their nameElectors with an anonymous entry who have no letter next to their entry other than the letter ‘N’Electors with an ‘E’ before their nameElectors who are 18 years of age or overElectors with an ‘F’ before their nameElectors with an ‘L’ before their nameReinforce only these electors are to be given a ballot paper.E = Overseas elector who is a Peer and normally only votes at European Parliamentary electionsF = Overseas electors who can normally vote only in UK Parliamentary and European Parliamentary electionsL = Peer who is entitled to vote at European Parliamentary elections, local government elections and in devolved institution elections25
26 Issuing the ballot papers Marking the register and the CNL(s)Make the elector confirm their nameMark electors’ elector number in the registerEnter the electors’ elector number on the Corresponding Number List(s) (CNL(s))Do NOT write the elector number on the ballot paper!Ballot papersOpen up fully so the whole paper is visible.Official markBallot paper number and unique Identifying Mark (UIM)! Interactive slide - click on links for sample register, CNL and ballot paper reverse.There is a separate sheet of paper for the elector number to be written on – the Corresponding Number List(s).Explain your official mark.Explain your UIM. The UIM is another security device and is useful for a court if an election is challenged
27 Marking the register Click to: return to slide Queen’s Walk BC JP12 7AS411 GVella, Eva1412 FVella, Tolek413 KVella, ChristinaBrown, Robert3415Evans, Gareth5Hall, Peter7417Myers, Martin418 ABishop, Stephanie13418/102 FebSmith, BenMarking the registerAn example of a register marked for elector numbers 414 and 416. Use a ruler, mistakes are made by poor marks. Be especially careful with family members. Never accept a poll card as proof of identity. Always ask for full name and address – unless you are dealing with an anonymous elector!Discussion pointsCan 415 vote? Yes. No marker against their name.Can 412 vote? Only in the referendum.Can 411 vote? Only in election.Can 418 vote? No. They are a postal voter so you cannot give them an ordinary ballot paper.Can 418/1 vote? Yes.Click to: return to slide27
28 Example Corresponding Number List (CNL) BC 27/1Ballot paper numbers will be pre-printed on the list so all you need to write on is the elector number next to the relevant ballot paper number. Do not write the elector number on the ballot paper.Click to: return to slide28
30 Marking the ballot paper for the local government election Voters have one or more votes, depending on how many candidates are to be elected to represent an electoral division/ward, and should place a cross in the box to the right of the name of the candidate(s) for whom they wish to vote.If they vote for more candidates than they are entitled to, their ballot paper will not be counted.
31 Marking the ballot paper for the referendum Some electors may need to have the voting process explained to them:voters have one vote, and should place a cross (X) in either the ‘yes’ or the ‘no’ boxIf they vote for more than one choice, their ballot paper will not be counted
32 What happens if…? you are handed a certificate of employment a voter spoils a ballot papera voter has nominated a proxy but the voter arrives before the proxya person arrives to vote but the register indicates the person has already voteda person arrives to vote but the register indicates the person is a postal votera person arrives wanting to vote as an emergency proxya person believes they should be on the register but they are not listedthere is a disturbance at the polling stationAdd your local instructions here.What does a certificate of employment look like and what information do the staff need from that form.If the voter spoils their ballot paper they must be issued a replacement and the PO accounts for any spoilt papers on the ballot paper accountIf the voter arrives before the nominated proxy then the proxy cannot vote and must be told the situationThis is a situation where the PO must put the prescribed questions to the voter before issuing a tendered ballot paperRemember the extended use of tendered ballot papers for those marked as absent voters and the deadline for receiving a replacement postal vote (5 p.m.) or otherwise issuing a tendered ballot paper for voters who claim never to have applied for a postal vote are entitled to a tendered ballot paper at any time.If the voter has arrived at the correct polling station then contact electoral services as there may have been a clerical error when compiling the register – outline the process to be followed.Emphasise that poll never to be adjourned on the PO’s own initiative.
33 The prescribed questions The prescribed questions must be asked:when you suspect personationwhen a registered elector is clearly under agewhen a candidate, an election agent, referendum agent or polling agent requests themalways before issuing a tendered ballot paperRefer to Appendix 5a of the polling station handbook.
34 Postal Votesvoters can hand in their postal votes at any polling station in the local authority (check a pack is for the local authority before accepting it)returned postal ballot packs must be sealed and labelled as instructed[insert procedure for collection of postal ballot packs by the Counting Officer during the day]It is important to emphasise the correct process when dealing with postal votes that are handed into the polling stations.They must be for the local authorityAny completed packs that are handed in must be properly managed by placing them in a sealed packet labelled with the station details.Should identify whether postal ballot packs will be collected during polling hours and / or should be returned at close of poll together
35 Postal votes‘A’ markers cannot be given an ordinary ballot paper at the polling station:direct to Counting Officer for replacement (before 5pm)tendered ballot paper procedure after 5pmexception: where elector claims never to have applied for a postal vote. In such case, they would be eligible for a tendered at any time.If voters with an ‘A’ marked against their name are insisting that they vote ‘in person’ there is no way that the Presiding Officer can allow this. Explain the procedure for issuing tendered votes and where to send people for replacement ballot packs if it is before 5pm. Note again different start time for issuing tendered ballot papers:If elector claims that they never applied for a postal vote – eligible for a tendered at any time.If elector claims that they lost, spoilt or did not receive their postal vote – eligible for a tendered only after 5pm.
36 The procedures to be followed Close of PollThe procedures to be followed
37 Close of poll Must close at 10 pm Anyone who has been issued with a ballot paper(s) by 10 pm must be allowed to voteHowever cannot issue after 10pm, even if elector was in a queue at 10pmSeal ballot box(es)Candidates/agents and campaigners are entitled to affix seals now that the polls have closed.37
38 After close of pollAbsolutely essential that the ballot paper accounts are completed accuratelyThe ballot paper accounts must be placed in the envelopes provided – keep these with the ballot box(es)Ensure all documents placed in correct packets and signed as appropriatePoll clerks to assist packing up station to allow presiding officer to do these important tasksYou could run a mock exercise in how to fill in the ballot paper account [The Commission has developed such an exercise as part of its suite of support materials].Do not be in such a rush to leave at 10pm that you make mistakes on the ballot paper account, please make sure this is done accurately - otherwise it will cause problems at the count.Take time to ensure that all documents are placed in the correct packets and are signed as appropriate.Explain any other local arrangements with regard to equipment and left over sundries and stationery.Data protection – poll cards need to be disposed of safely.38
39 Health and safetynever put the safety of anyone inside the polling station at riskbe aware to any potential risks to safetyinspect the premises regularlyif hazards are discovered – find a remedyif an accident occurs – follow proceduresbe careful when lifting heavy objectsMake use of the polling station inspectors if you find something you aren’t happy about. Use common sense.
40 Any questions?You may want to test if all the polling station staff have understood and feel fully confident about their role on the day. [The Commission has developed a multi-choice quiz which can be used for this purpose as part of its suite of support materials].
41 Additional Information Election team contactsElectoral Commission websiteFeedback Sheets