Regional Returning Officer’s Training Seminar

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Transcript Regional Returning Officer’s Training Seminar

Polling station staff
training session
Local government elections in Scotland
Returning Officer
Depute Returning Officer
Objectives of
the training
• Your role is vital in ensuring that voters
have confidence in the election process.
• At this session we will:
– outline what we expect you to do on
polling day
– discuss the voting procedures
– think about health and safety issues
– highlight a number of administrative
Key aims for
the election
• that all voters have a good experience,
with any person who is entitled to vote
being able to do so
• that the poll is professionally delivered
• that we produce accurate results in which
all stakeholders are confident
• that the process is transparent
• that the poll is consistently administered
Voting at the
• Local government elections in Scotland
are conducted using the Single
Transferable Vote electoral system.
• Each ward elects 3 or 4 councillors.
• Voters rank the candidates in order of
their preference by using numbers.
• Voters can rank as many or as few
candidates as they like.
It is essential that you…
– act impartially at all times
– comply with any instructions issued by the Returning Officer
– ensure the secrecy and security of the ballot
The Presiding
Officer –
management of
the polling
• Liaise with the key-holder of the
• Organise the layout of the polling
• Instruct and supervise the work of
the Poll Clerks
• Account for all the ballot papers,
ballot boxes and paperwork
The Poll
Clerk –
Assist with the layout of the polling
station and prepare for the opening of
the poll
Be polite and professional in dealing
with the voters
Check that electors are eligible to vote
in the election and at that polling station
Understand the process for marking the
register and issuing ballot papers
Countdown to
polling day
• Essential tasks
– Visit polling place and check out
contact and access arrangements
– Check out arrangements for ballot box
collection and check contents as soon
as possible
– Contact other members of the team
– Dress code – ensure clothing reflects
professionalism and impartiality but is
also comfortable and warm
Polling station
• A point of contact
• Supplies of stationery and equipment
• Responsible for
Checking layout of stations
Checking things are running smoothly
Being aware of and dealing with queues
Collecting any returned postal votes
Distributing payments (if appropriate)
• Contact numbers [ ……………. ]
Can’t make contact with key-holder
Can’t gain access to the polling station
Staff failing to turn up or being late
Problems displaying notices
Wrong registers allocated to the station
The ballot paper numbers do not match
those pre-printed on the CNL
• Tendered ballot papers wrongly issued
• Queues building up at the close of poll
The Polling Station
Setting up, layout and who can enter the polling station
Setting up the
polling station
• Layout / notices (see set-up checklist in Appendix
11 of the Handbook for polling station staff)
must work for the voter
walk route voter expected to follow
properly accessible to voters
consider needs of wheelchair users (e.g. doors,
space to manoeuvre, vote in secret)
– provide seats for anyone who may need to rest
• Prepare the stationery
Arrange the ballot papers in numerical order
Prepare register and corresponding number list
Keep tendered ballot papers in packet
Check all notices up and pencils ready and sharp
Setting up the
polling station
• Polling agents, tellers and others
– consider where polling agents, tellers, other
supporters/campaigners can / can’t be
• Location of ballot box
– accessible and secure
• Sealing the box
– show box is empty
– seal as advised just before 7am
– don’t allow candidates / agents to add seal at this
Polling station
Polling station
Who can enter
the polling
Returning Officer and staff
Candidates and election agents
Polling agents
Police officers on duty
Representatives of the Electoral Commission
Accredited observers
Under 18s accompanying voters
Companions of voters with disabilities
observers and
Customer care • Show a personal interest
• Be helpful and approachable
• Listen and empathise with them
• Allow them to put their point across before
• Don’t say ‘No’, tell them what you can do
for them and what they can do
• But the election rules must be followed at
all times, no matter how insistent, upset or
angry they are
• If in doubt, contact the elections office
Customer care • Ensure that the voting process is
accessible to all:
– layout must work for all voters,
including wheelchair users
– stationery provided in alternative
languages and formats should be
clearly visible
– you must be able to provide
information to disabled electors on
options for voting aided and unaided
Tactile voting
• Tactile template needs to be clearly visible and
you should be confident in using it
• How to use - make sure that the template is
securely attached to the ballot paper and that the
voter is confident about using it. The voter should:
- lift the selected window
- mark their preferences
- close the window
- repeat for further preferences
- separate the template from the ballot paper
- place the ballot paper in the ballot box
- return the template to the Presiding Officer
Who can and cannot
Using the electoral register and corresponding number list(s)
Who is
eligible to vote
at the polling
station in the
• Electors with no letters or dates before
their name
• Electors who are 18 years of age or over
on the day of the election – date on or
before polling day before their name
• Electors with a ‘G’ before their name
• Electors with a ‘K’ before their name
• Electors with an ‘L’ before their name
• Electors who have registered
anonymously - will have an ‘N’ instead of
a name
Issuing the
ballot papers
• Marking the register and the CNL
– Ask the elector to confirm their name and
– Mark electors’ elector number in the
– Call out the name and elector number of
the elector
– Enter the elector number on the
Corresponding Number List (CNL)
– Do NOT write the elector number on the
ballot paper!
Issuing the
ballot papers
• Ballot papers
– Open up fully so the whole paper is visible
– Official mark, ballot paper number and
Unique Identifying Mark (UIM)
– Ask the voter NOT to fold the ballot paper
before putting it in the ballot box
– Advise them not to let anyone see the
marks on their ballot paper
Marking the
JP32 4LT
411 G
412 F
413 K
418 A
Vella, Eva
Jolly, Simon
Vella, Christina
Brown, Robert
Evans, Gareth
Singh, Parvinder 7
Myers, Martin
Bishop, Stephanie 15
02 Feb Watts, Judith
Number List
BC 27/1
Exceptions to
the rule
• Anonymous electors
– Must have poll card
– Marked ‘N’ on register
– Name and address must not be called out
• Clerical errors and other electors
– On separate register sheet or at end of
– Always check these if can’t find on
register; they won’t be in street order
Marking the
• Voters rank the candidates in order
ballot paper for of preference by marking numbers
the local
in the box to the right of the name of
the candidates, i.e. 1, 2, 3 etc.
• Voters can rank one, some or all of
the candidates on the ballot paper.
• The same number cannot be used
twice and there should not be a
break in the sequence.
Marking the
• If they ask you how to vote, read
ballot paper for out the instructions on the ballot
the local
• If they make a mistake, simply
follow the spoilt procedure
• Don’t get into conversations about
the council, the election or anything
other than how to vote
The voting
• Three/Four candidates will be elected
• You can make as many or as few
choices as you wish.
• Put the number 1 in the voting box next to
your first choice
• Put the number 2 in the voting box next to
your second choice
• Put the number 3 in the voting box next to
your third choice. And so on.
happens if…?
• you are handed a certificate of employment
• a voter spoils a ballot paper
• a voter has nominated a proxy but the voter
arrives before the proxy
• a person arrives to vote but the register indicates
the person has already voted
• a person arrives to vote but the register indicates
the person is a postal voter
• a person arrives wanting to vote as an emergency
• a person believes they should be on the register
but they are not listed
• there is a disturbance at the polling station
• The prescribed questions must be asked:
– when a candidate, an election agent or
polling agent requests them
– before issuing a tendered ballot paper
• The prescribed questions should be asked:
– when you suspect personation
– when a registered elector is clearly under
– when an elector states their name is not
as shown in the register of electors
• No other enquiry or questioning of
electors is allowed
Postal votes
• voters can hand in their postal votes at
any polling station in the council area
• returned postal ballot packs must be
sealed and labelled as instructed
• postal votes will be collected during the
day, with the remainder returned with the
ballot box at close of poll
Postal votes
• ‘A’ markers cannot be given an ordinary
ballot paper at the polling station:
– direct to Returning Officer for replacement
(before 5pm)
– tendered ballot paper procedure after 5pm
• exception: where elector claims never to
have applied for a postal vote. In such a
case, they would be eligible for a tendered
vote at any time. However these electors
should be encouraged to apply for a
replacement at the elections office if before
Close of Poll
The procedures to be followed
Managing a • At any point in the day – call the
election office
• Just before 10pm
– make sure those waiting can cast their
– check that anyone waiting to vote is at
the correct polling station for their
– Find out if anyone waiting is delivering
postal votes – collect these before
Managing a • At 10pm:
– bring all the waiting electors into the
queue (2)
room/building and close the door, OR
– if the room/building is not big enough,
a member of the team should stand at
the end of the queue to mark it
– continue to issue ballot papers until
everyone who was in the queue by
10pm has voted
• Anyone who was not in the queue at
10pm must NOT be issued with a
ballot paper.
Close of poll
• Once the last voter has voted, seal the
ballot box
• Candidates/agents are also entitled to
affix seals to the ballot box at this point
After close of
• Absolutely essential that the ballot paper
account is completed accurately
• The ballot paper account must be placed
in the envelope provided – keep these
with the ballot box
• Ensure all documents placed in correct
packets and signed as appropriate
• Poll Clerks to assist packing up station to
allow Presiding Officer to do these
important tasks
Health and
• never put the safety of anyone inside the
polling station at risk
• be aware of any potential risks to safety
• inspect the premises regularly
• if hazards are discovered – find a remedy
• if an accident occurs – follow procedures
• be careful when lifting heavy objects
Any questions?
• Election team contacts
• Electoral Commission website
• Feedback sheets