Polling station staff training
Scottish Independence Referendum
18 September 2014
Before training begins..
• Training team
• Reminders
– Polling staff cannot be or have been involved in campaigning
for either outcome at the referendum
– You must stay for the duration of the training
– Have you signed in?
Aims of this training session
• This session will help equip you to carry out your role
• At this session we will
– Give you background information on the referendum
– Explain what we expect you to do on polling day
– Provide information on local procedures
– Carry out practical demonstrations
– Answer your questions
Key aims for the referendum
• There should be no barriers to any voter taking
part
• Voters must have the same experience wherever
they are in Scotland
• The referendum will be administered efficiently;
and
• The referendum will produce results that are
accepted as accurate.
How is the referendum different?
• Voting age lowered to 16
• No candidates – instead there are campaigners
• Designated organisations and permitted participants
• Terms unique to the referendum
– The Chief Counting Officer
– Counting Officer
– Polling list
Preparing for referendum day
• Organise yourself
– Find out how you will get to the polling place in
time
– Arrange your own vote
– Read your training materials
– Take your documentation with you
– Dress appropriately
– Take enough food to last the day
– Ensure you have a watch and access to a phone
The Polling Station Team
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Senior Presiding Officer
Presiding Officer
Polling Clerk
Information Officer
Support
– Polling Station Inspector
– Referendum team
– Electoral Registration Officer
All polling staff must…
• Act impartially at all times
• Comply with instructions issued by the
Counting Officer
• Ensure the secrecy and security of the
ballot
• Provide excellent customer care
Setting up the polling station
• Arrive no later than 6.30 am
• Check the layout
– Must work for the voter
– Provision for polling agents
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Put up the notices
Prepare the stationery
Prepare the ballot box
Check the polling booths
BE READY TO OPEN AT 7am
Who can enter the polling station?
• Voters
• Under 16s accompanying voters
• Chief Counting Officer, Counting
Officer and their staff
• Referendum agents
• Polling agents
• Police officers on duty there
• Electoral Commission
representatives
• Accredited observers
• Companions of voters with
disabilities
• Others allowed by the Presiding
Officer
• the Member of Parliament for the
constituency in which the polling
station is situated
• the Member of the Scottish
Parliament for the constituency in
which the polling station is
situated
• the Members of the Scottish
Parliament for the region in
which the constituency is situated
• the councillors for the electoral
ward in which the polling station
is situated
• the Members of the European
Parliament for the electoral
region of Scotland
Accredited observers and
Commission Representatives
Example of ID issued to Accredited
Observers- white
Who can vote at the polling station?
• Voters with ‘N’ before their entry
– these are anonymous voters
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Voters with ‘G’ before their names (or ‘G’+‘N’)
Voters with ‘K’ before their names (or ‘K’+‘N’)
Voters with ‘L’ before their names (or ‘L’ +‘N’)
Voters with ‘P’ before their names (or ‘P’+‘N’)
Who can’t vote at the polling station?
• Voters with ‘A’ before their names (or ‘A’ + ‘N’)
– these are postal voters
• Voters with ‘E’ before their names (or ‘E’ + ‘N’)
• Voters with ‘F’ before their names (or ‘F’ + ‘N’)
• Voters with ‘U’ before their names (or ‘U’+ ‘N’)
Customer care
• Supporting voters
• Voters with additional support needs
– Young voters
– Materials in other languages
– Assistance for disabled voters
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Tactile template
Large print sample ballot paper
Companions
Assisting certain voters to cast their vote
Agents and tellers
• Referendum agents
– Each permitted participant can appoint a local
referendum agent
• Polling agents
– In turn, referendum agents can appoint polling
agents to attend the polling stations
• Tellers
– Tellers have no official status
• Rosettes
Issuing the ballot papers
• Work as a team
• Issuing process
• Do not write anything on the ballot
paper
• Ensure the ballot papers issued at your
station come back to your ballot box
Exceptions
•Anonymous electors and their proxies
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Marked ‘N’ on polling list
Must have poll card
Call out elector number (not name and address)
Mark elector number on CNL as usual
•Other electors
–at end of polling list (may not be at your station)
•Clerical errors
–on separate polling list sheet
ALWAYS CHECK THOROUGHLY IF YOU CAN’T FIND ENTRY ON
POLLING LIST – IF NECESSARY, REFER VOTER TO ERO
Voting
• Some voters may need to have the voting process
explained to them
• The referendum question is
“Should Scotland be an independent country?”
• Read out the instructions at the top of the ballot paper
• They should vote by marking the ballot paper with a
cross (X) in the box next to their choice of answer
• Be careful not to express any preference for either
answer to the referendum question
Preventing Personation
• What is personation?
• What are the prescribed questions?
• When must they be asked?
– when a referendum agent or polling agent asks for them to be
• When should they be asked?
– if you suspect personation
– when a registered voter is clearly under age
– When a voter states their name is not as shown on the polling list
• Can I ask other questions?
ASK THE QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU ISSUE THE BALLOT PAPER
Tendered ballot papers
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How is a tendered ballot paper different?
When are they used?
What is the procedure for issuing them?
What do I do with them?
TENDERED BALLOT PAPERS MUST NOT BE PUT
IN THE BALLOT BOX
Postal votes
• Can be handed in at any polling station in the
council area
• Store the votes securely
• Packets will be collected during the day
• Procedure for postal votes remaining at close
of poll
POSTAL VOTES MUST NOT BE PUT IN THE
BALLOT BOX
Postal voters
• Postal voters cannot vote in person at a polling station
• If they have their postal pack, explain how they can use it
• If they have spoilt, lost or not received their postal pack
– before 5pm - referendum office for replacement
– after 5pm – issue a tendered ballot paper
• If they claim not to have applied for a postal vote
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Vote using the pack if they have received it
If they have not received it
Before 5pm – referendum office for replacement
But – can be issued a tendered vote at any time
During polling day…
• Presiding Officers should regularly check
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Polling booths
Signs
Accesses and exits to station and polling place
Parking areas
Noticeboards etc
Activities of polling agents outwith the station
Activities of tellers
• If there are problems you can’t sort without help,
contact the referendum office.
Managing a queue
• At any point in the day – call the referendum office
• Just before 10pm
– Make sure those waiting can cast their vote
– Check that anyone waiting to vote is at the correct polling
station for their address
– If anyone is waiting to hand in a postal vote, make sure
they do this by 10pm
• Ensure that nobody joins the queue after 10pm
IF IT LOOKS AS IF A PROBLEM QUEUE MIGHT BE
FORMING, ADVISE THE REFERENDUM OFFICE
Close of poll
• Once the last voter has voted, seal the ballot box
• Agents can put their own seals on the ballot box
• Complete the ballot paper account
– Accuracy not speed
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Complete the other paperwork
Pack up the materials as directed
Pack up the polling station
Arrangements for delivery of boxes etc. to count
Health and Safety
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Never put the safety of anyone at risk
Be aware of any potential risks to safety
Inspect the premises regularly
If hazards are discovered – find a remedy
If an accident occurs, follow procedures
Be careful when lifting heavy objects
Additional Information
• For more information and practical examples of
polling station scenarios online
– Polling Staff training : http://youtu.be/qSyu4ajUdHM
– Voter Scenarios http://youtu.be/b6Rp32lD_U4
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Read your handbook
Referendum team contacts
Electoral Registration Office contacts
Emergency Contact List
Any questions?
Don’t forget to return your feedback sheets.
Thank you
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Polling station staff training session