Presiding Officer

Presiding Officers are responsible for conduct of the ballot in polling stations and they must have a good knowledge of the voting procedures.

You will:

  • take charge of the polling station and organize its proper management
  • ensure that all electors are treated impartially and with respect
  • maintain the secrecy of the ballot
  • supervise the Poll Clerks at the polling station
  • comply with any instructions from the Returning Officer

Before polling day:

  • attend a mandatory training session and briefing provided by the Returning Officer
  • liaise with the contact person of your designated polling to confirm arrangements for key collection and opening and closing of the building
  • visit the polling station to ensure polling day arrangements are in place
  • make contact with other Presiding Officer and liaise concerning proper arrangements (where applicable)
  • make contact with the Poll Clerks
  • collect the ballot box and check contents on collection before the poll and keep secure

Polling day:

  • transport ballot box and contents to polling station
  • erect polling booths, this involves some lifting
  • organise the layout of the polling station taking all voter needs into account
  • supervise duties of Poll Clerks in setting up the polling station
  • be aware of access issues at the polling station
  • be responsible for health and safety at the polling station for all staff and visitors
  • ensure the polling station is opened on time
  • ensure that all signs and instructions are clear, visible and remain in place
  • keep the polling station neat and tidy
  • instruct and supervise the work of the Poll Clerks at all times during the day
  • account for, and be responsible for, all ballot papers, issued and un-issued
  • check electors have the appropriate Voter ID and follow the instructions that have been provided and keep relevant records
  • check and mark electors’ electoral numbers in the register of electors and on the corresponding numbers lists
  • issue ballot papers to voters
  • ensure that voters cast their votes in secret and put them into the (correct) ballot box
  • provide assistance to voters where appropriate
  • receive postal votes delivered by hand and complete relevant paperwork
  • manage the attendance of those entitled to be present in the polling station, eg candidates, agents, representatives of the Electoral Commission and observers, and ensure they do not interfere with the voting process
  • be polite and professional when dealing with all visitors to the polling station and remain impartial at all times
  • monitor the activities of tellers outside polling places

Close of poll:

  • manage arrangements for voting in relation to any queues
  • ensure the polling station is closed on time
  • supervise the dismantling of the polling station and ensure the building is returned to good order
  • complete the ballot paper account and associated paperwork; pack up documents in accordance with instructions given by Returning Officer
  • deliver the Ballot Box and associated paperwork to the Count location/drop off point as designated by the Returning Officer

Polling station team

Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm.

On polling day, you need to arrive at the polling station early enough to help set up the equipment in time for the opening in order to maintain the secrecy of the vote and safeguard the integrity of the process.

It is a very long day (16 hours), so you must provide your own refreshments and take appropriate breaks throughout the day to avoid tiredness. Polling station staff are not permitted to leave the premises during hours of poll.


You must:

  • attend a training session before election day
  • sign an agreement to maintain the secrecy requirements
  • be eligible to work in the UK (evidence is needed)
  • not work on behalf of a candidate or political party, paid or otherwise

You will need your National Insurance number to apply.

This information is provided for guidance only and may be subject to change without notice.

Last updated 26 June 2024