Be at the heart of local democracy and earn some money at the same time

Do you want to earn some extra money at the same time as getting involved in the democratic process in May when a number of elections take place in Oxfordshire?

Local councils need your help on Thursday, 6 May, when the following elections are taking place across the county:

  • Oxfordshire County Council elections
  • Police & Crime Commissioner elections
  • District Council elections (in Cherwell, Oxford City and West Oxfordshire)
  • Town/Parish Council elections

Staff are required on polling day (Thursday, 6 May, 2021) to work as presiding officers and poll clerks at polling stations. These will be in each district area of the County (Cherwell, Oxford City, South Oxfordshire, Vale of the White Horse and West Oxfordshire).

Chief Executive of Cherwell District Council and Oxfordshire County Council Yvonne Rees said: “We are keen to hear from people who are eager to get involved in the excitement of running an election. Measures will be in place to keep people safe from COVID and there’s money to be earned for helping out.

“If you think one of the roles we have available may be for you then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Equally if you have questions or need clarifications we’d be more than happy to answer them for you.

“Delivering elections is a big undertaking and the backbone of the operation is always hard-working local people pitching in to help out on polling day.”

What roles are available?

Polling station roles

  • Presiding officers – (previous election experience is preferred): 
    • are in charge of the setting-up and running of the polling station
    • ideally have experience of polling station duties but training is provided
    • will be paid a fee of £261 if there are two elections in the polling station or £271 if there are three elections in the polling station plus mileage
    • must complete online training for which an additional fee will be paid
    • pick up the ballot box and equipment a couple of days before polling day
    • deliver the ballot box to their allocated counting centre after the close of poll.
  • Poll clerks
    • assist the presiding officer in setting-up and running the polling station
    • will be paid a fee of £165 if there are two elections in the polling station or £175 if there are three elections in the polling station plus mileage
    • must complete online training for which an additional fee will be paid

Polling hours are 7am - 10pm and you will need to be at your polling station by no later than 6.15am to enable set-up. All payments are subject to tax.

COVID-19 considerations

The safety of all has been at the forefront of planning for the elections and there will therefore be extra processes and procedures in place. This is for everyone’s safety. The public health principles we are all currently following in our daily lives to help mitigate the risk and spread of COVID-19 should be followed throughout the day at polling stations – such as maintaining social distancing; cleaning hands regularly; avoiding touching your face and wearing a face covering.

Health and safety assessments have been undertaken at all venues being used as polling stations to ensure they are safe for those working and for electors voting at the station.

Most venues already have measures and signage, but additional equipment you need for your station, including Perspex screens, hand sanitiser, face coverings and signage will be provided. Most venues allow for one-way systems to operate and you will be able to use the signage to set this up. Where a one-way system is not possible in a polling station, there will be an extra poll clerk to assist in managing electors in the polling station.

There will be a national and local publicity campaign making electors aware that voting at a polling station will be different on 6 May 2021: they will have to wear a face covering; they are encouraged to bring their own pen; social distancing will be in place; and they may have to queue.

How to take part

To take part people need to be aged 18 or over, and ensure any childcare responsibilities are in hand.

People need to ensure they are available to commit for the entire day; these are not part-time or flexible hours posts. Polling station staff are not allowed to leave the polling station, so people will not be able to pop out for a lunch break, and will need to take their own food and drink for the day.

Councils will always be flexible in accommodating specific requests in terms of precise locations.

People who are keen and meet the criteria should email electionstaff@oxfordshire.gov.uk with:

  • their home address
  • a telephone number and email address that they use regularly
  • confirmation as to whether or not they have transport
  • an indication of which district area(s) they would be able to work (Cherwell, Oxford, South Oxfordshire, Vale of the White Horse, West Oxfordshire)

People who may be planning to work on the elections are reminded not to lose their own right to vote. Apply for your own postal vote before the deadline of 5pm on 20 April 2021.