As a general election looms, many people will not realise that elections are more than a chance to cast your vote — they are an opportunity to make money.
When you vote in an election, you’ll almost certainly have noticed the poll clerks overseeing everything.
However, have you ever considered making a bit of extra cash as a poll clerk yourself?
Can you make yourself free for the whole day?
If so, you can earn around £250 for a day’s work in a polling station.
It’s a quick and easy money-making idea and ideal if you are retired or a student.
In this article, we explain how to become a poll clerk. Read on to learn how you can be a part of political history — and get paid for it.
Anyone is eligible to act as a poll clerk, providing they are over 18, literate and not a member of a political party participating in the election.
The only other requirement is that applicants must be on the electoral roll – if you’re not, you really should be. Not being on the electoral roll can damage your credit rating!
If you’re not on the electoral roll you can register to vote on the Government’s official website. You can also find your local Electoral Registration Office by clicking here. Alternatively, give your local authority a call.
As a poll clerk, you are there to set-up the polling station and make sure correct procedure is followed throughout the day, including after voting closes.
Your duties include checking people are eligible to vote, checking and marking electoral numbers, stamping and issuing ballot papers, and, crucially, making certain that votes are cast in secret and put into the ballot box.
You answer to the Presiding Officer, who is the official in charge of a polling station.
It’s a long day, usually from early morning (before 7am) till at least 10pm when the voting finishes.
You can also apply to help count the ballot papers in the evening, but be aware that this is, as you can probably imagine, pretty frantic work.
The amount you earn varies from council to council so it depends on where you apply.
You should be getting at least £100 for the day and councils who pay the most will offer £250 or more.
To find out how much your local council pays, simply visit their website and search ‘poll clerk’. For a list of local authorities in England and Wales, click here.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you have worked at a polling station on at least two other occasions, you can apply to become a Presiding Officer, which means more money!
Leeds City Council gives a good summary of the duties of a Presiding Officer and what you must have to become one.
Usually, poll clerks have worked for their local council, but this experience is not a prerequisite.
Most councils and local authorities have information on how to become a poll clerk on their website.
Either visit their website and search ‘poll clerk’, or simply Google ‘become a poll clerk’ followed by your town, city, or council. For a list of council websites, click here.
Alternatively, you can call your local authority and ask for the Elections and Registration Office, or send them an email telling them that you’re interested. They’ll send you a form if they need clerks.
Don’t leave it until a week before an election to apply because the positions will probably already be filled – it’s better to apply sooner rather than later.
Some local authorities recruit all year round so you can keep applying and be put on a waiting list for the next election.
If you are selected as a poll clerk you will attend a training/briefing session and then be sworn in the day before the election.
On Election Day, a Presiding Officer oversees the whole station and will supervise and instruct you.
Have you ever made money as a polling clerk? Do you have any other good money making ideas? Let us know in the comments section below – we love to hear from you!