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How To Become A Poll Clerk And How Much It Pays

Looking to make a bit of extra money? Then take a look at how you can become a poll clerk, what your day will involve and how much it pays. Plus, I will also take a look at the role of a counting clerk.

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As regular readers of my blog will be aware, I have tried all manner of jobs in an attempt to try and make extra money on the side. However, with 3 children and a full-time job, there aren’t always enough hours in the day. One job that I have always wanted to try was that of a poll clerk. Does it really involve just sitting around all day and being paid, or is there more to it?

Fortunately, my friend Dawn has several years experience of working as a poll clerk and a counting clerk and agreed to be interviewed for my blog. 

How do you become a poll clerk?

If there is an election or polling day looming, just email your local council. Because there are so many polling stations, they always need assistance. It takes just a couple of minutes.

If they want your help, you usually have to go to the council offices and do a couple of hours training. It’s very simple and you get paid! The earlier you apply though, the more likely you are to be chosen.

What does your day involve?

You start at 6:00 am so you’re ready for the polls to begin at 7. You make sure that all the signs are out and everything in the station is ready. It will usually be you, another poll clerk and a Presiding Officer who is in charge of everything.

Once the polls are open, your main job is crossing off names from the list of everybody who votes and marking off the numbers from the voting slips. This goes on until 10:00 pm when the polls close. Once you’ve tidied everything away, you can go home.

become a poll clerk

Do you enjoy it?

It really depends, mainly on who you are working with. It can be a lot of fun if you’re with people you get on with or it can be a really long day. Plus, the location makes a big difference. You can’t leave the polling station, so you have to take food with you. And if the station doesn’t have a kitchen, you could be stuck with your choices of food and drink.

How much does a poll clerk earn?

This depends on the authority you work for, but in the South-East of Kent it works out at £170 for the day.

And if you decide to become a counting clerk, what does that involve?

You apply in exactly the same way as a polling clerk. The shifts are completely different though. You start at 7 pm and work through till 7 am. That’s as long as everything goes to plan. If there is a delay at the polling booths or an error in counting, you might have to stay later. You do get paid overtime though.

What’s the work like?

There are generally over 100 people at the counting office and it can be very busy. There are 3 main roles for a counting clerk. The 1st is to place the voting slips onto something called a “grass skirt”. It’s difficult to explain but imagine you have a skirt with lots of different strips running down it. You place 10 slips in a row on one strip and then move on to the next part. You do this until the skirt is full.

The next clerk counts up all the votes and reads the results to the final clerk who inputs the information into a computer.

It doesn’t sound like the quickest job…

It’s really antiquated and I have no idea why they still do it like that.

How much does a counting clerk earn?

I usually earn £200, but I earned extra last time as I stayed for 2 hours longer. And another benefit is you are provided with a free dinner during the counting!

How do you become a presiding officer?

If you’ve managed to do a couple of days as a polling clerk, an existing presiding officer can nominate you to take on the role.

Does it pay more?

Presiding officers are paid an extra £100 per day. If they’re working in the polling station, their working day is longer as they have to pick up all the equipment the day before and they need to take the ballot box to the counting office.

There’s more stress though, as you’re in charge and you have to make sure everything is right. And if there is a problem with a count, you could end up in court and have to explain yourself!

I hope that Dawn’s answers have helped some of you decide whether working as a polling clerk is worthwhile.

Expected pay per hour: £10 – although varies between councils.

If it’s not for, why not take a look at some other ways to earn extra money?


Do poll workers get paid?

Yes they do. It varies depending on the council you work for though.

Can poll clerks vote?

Poll clerks have exactly the same rights as other citizens in the UK and can vote in elections.

When do poll clerks get paid?

This really depends on the council you work for. However, you should expect payment within 4 – 6 weeks.

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