There’s more to an election than dropping a ballot paper in a box and now Somerset Council is offering interested people the chance to get involved in behind-the-scenes roles – and be paid.

The rates of pay for election staff varies depending on the job role and the type of election. The amounts will be confirmed before an election.

The Council is always looking to recruit staff to help at election time in a variety of roles, from staffing polling stations to opening postal votes. It’s easy to sign up, just complete the application form on the Council’s website Working at an election ( and send to:

Elections do not just happen when the nation goes to the polls in a General Election: there are Somerset Council, city, town and parish elections every four years as well as any necessary by-elections  and the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner election, due to take place on 2 May 2024.

The Council adds staff to its database as people apply. Only those who have a right to work in the UK, and with no political affiliations, are eligible to work at elections. As an election approaches, the Council will contact those registered and ask about availability. Those who are already registered do not need to re-register.

For each election, the Returning Officer appoints polling and counting staff, and some staff for other duties, for example clerks for the opening of postal votes.

The roles needed are:

  • Presiding officers – a presiding officer is responsible for the conduct of the ballot in the polling stations and must have a good knowledge of the voting procedure. Some previous experience as a poll clerk is preferred
  • Poll Clerks – a poll clerk’s job is to help the presiding officer in setting up and dismantling the polling station. Other responsibilities include checking and marking the electoral register and making sure that voters can cast their vote in secret, free from influence and in a calm atmosphere. Training will be provided. Hours of working would be 6.15am to 10.30pm on polling day. Staff cannot leave the polling station during these hours.
  • Verification and counting staff – verification and counting assistants open ballot boxes, make sure that the contents agree with the ballot paper accounts, then count the votes for each candidate in the election. Staff work as part of a supervised team. Hours of working would be from about 10pm on polling day to 4am the following day.
  • Postal vote openers – Count and check the contents of envelopes. Full instruction will be given. Sessions are held depending on the volume of postal votes received.

Full details on how to get involved in elections can be found here: Working at an election (

polling station sign outside building

About this article

September 11, 2023

Debbie Rundle

Press Release