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Working on Election Day at polling booth


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#1 FeralCrazyMum

Posted 01 September 2013 - 02:52 PM

So, I'm working for the election as a polling assistant. I'm supposed to start work at 7.30 and have to stay until 'some time after 6pm'.

Just wondering what to expect, what will I be doing apart from ticking people's names off, anything to keep in mind, etc.

They do say to take food, I know the school will be putting on a BBQ and cake stall but that's only until mid afternoon so I'm guessing I should take some snacks/sandwiches in case it goes late.



#2 PrincessPeach

Posted 01 September 2013 - 03:06 PM

If you are there ticking names off you usually stay to count the votes as well. Last time DH did a federal election he got home at 1am - that was about the same time most of the booths finnished. Besides the long day it isnt to stressful andyou are paid for the hours worked.

#3 emc002a

Posted 01 September 2013 - 03:18 PM

Wear pants and joggers, often the Senate is counted on the floor, unlike the DVD scenario! lol

Take snack food or sandwiches, but bottles of water as well.  You may not get to eat a lot, it depends on the booth.  I remember being able to take lots of breaks at some booths and others only having one or two breaks.  One we got a break at the close of polling but some just start counting straight away.

Depending on the size of the booth and which state you are in - I have finished between 9pm and midnight.  The first few elections I got smaller booths in halls etc, this time again I am working at a school.  Most people seem to head for schools to vote at..so as you are at a school I would guess at least midnight you might finish.

#4 luke's mummu

Posted 01 September 2013 - 03:48 PM

I usually finish someitme between 10 and 11pm. Take a cushion for kneeling/sitting on the floor.  We usually have a lunch break around 11am - 1pm, then a dinner break around 4.30-5ish (start packing up the booths at 5.30). So a snack for the dinner break is a must, because once you start counting votes, you don;t stop until you finish at 10 or 11pm!

#5 qak

Posted 01 September 2013 - 05:06 PM

Last time DH did it is was quite late - midnight I think.  He was not paid extra for the hours, it was a fixed rate for the whole day and ended up being pretty ordinary money if you based it on the actual hours :(

He is, however, doing it again!

#6 luke's mummu

Posted 01 September 2013 - 05:11 PM

Oh yeah and where I've worked, it's not set meal breaks. Just long enough to go to the loo and eat and then you are back. So don't expect 1/2 hour for lunch - unless you have a VERY generous supervisor.

#7 Kafkaesque

Posted 01 September 2013 - 05:34 PM

It will undoubtably go until at the very least 8pm. Even the smallest booths I've never got out earlier than that.

Wear comfy cloths that you can sit on the floor in as often that's where you end up counting.

Take plenty of food morning and afternoon snacks and food for lunch and dinner. If you're a coffee drinker either take a thermos or own coffee/milk. There are often facilities to make it but not the coffee and milk.



#8 Kafkaesque

Posted 01 September 2013 - 05:36 PM

View PostPrincessPeach, on 01 September 2013 - 03:06 PM, said:

If you are there ticking names off you usually stay to count the votes as well. Last time DH did a federal election he got home at 1am - that was about the same time most of the booths finnished. Besides the long day it isnt to stressful andyou are paid for the hours worked.

You aren't paid for hours worked. It's set rate. A general polling assistant is paid $377 before tax for the day regardless of how long you're there.

I once worked past midnight as the reconciliation of votes got totally screwed and we had to recount twice!

#9 The Princess

Posted 01 September 2013 - 05:41 PM

I am also doing a polling booth on Saturday, but I have specified the time I can do, I am handing out how to votes for a particular candidate from 9am-12pm

#10 luke's mummu

Posted 01 September 2013 - 05:47 PM

View PostThe Princess, on 01 September 2013 - 05:41 PM, said:

I am also doing a polling booth on Saturday, but I have specified the time I can do, I am handing out how to votes for a particular candidate from 9am-12pm

Is that paid or volunteering? I am just curious as to whether canditated ever pay people to hand out the how to vote cards?

I have a friend who does it for the Christian democrats, but it isn't paid.

#11 kadoodle

Posted 01 September 2013 - 05:52 PM

View PostThe Princess, on 01 September 2013 - 05:41 PM, said:

I am also doing a polling booth on Saturday, but I have specified the time I can do, I am handing out how to votes for a particular candidate from 9am-12pm

I'd be surprised if you were paid, that's usually volunteer stuff for the true believers.  I'll be helping my father set up one of the booths, then sizzling sausages for a couple of hours for the school.

Hopefully I won't have to hang around and hand out fliers.  There's a bit of a "gentleman's agreement" that if someone loses a flier distributer, the other parties help out, so last election I handed out fliers for the Greens and a couple of times I've been dragged down to bring food/drinks/icy poles for everyone.

#12 Froggilicious

Posted 01 September 2013 - 05:55 PM

I'm managing a polling booth this year and our instructions are to ensure all staff get a 30 min break every 5 hrs, with the second as close to 6pm as possible as after 6 counting starts and it's go, go, go. You won't be able to leave the building at all during the day so I'd take enough food to get you through to about 10.

Having said that I've worked polling booths where we've been done by 9pm and other booths where we were still accepting votes at 9pm from people who were in the que at 6  it really depends on the size of the polling place

Also just check your start time, I'm expecting staff by 7, but ignore me if your paperwork says 7.30.

#13 luke's mummu

Posted 01 September 2013 - 06:00 PM

View PostFroggilicious, on 01 September 2013 - 05:55 PM, said:

I'm managing a polling booth this year and our instructions are to ensure all staff get a 30 min break every 5 hrs, with the second as close to 6pm as possible as after 6 counting starts and it's go, go, go.

Either that's new or my previous supervisors ignored it!

But sounds good. Last time we started at 7.15am and at 12.30pm I had to ask for a toilet break as none had been offered to me or any of the other staff.

#14 Feral Grey Mare

Posted 01 September 2013 - 06:11 PM

Prepare yourself to say "You haven't already voted in this election have you" 5000 times and then smile at the smart a..... answers.

Be ready to read rude things people write and draw on their ballot papers.

Do plenty of arm exercises because unfolding senate papers is not fun.

Resist temptation to punch the party scrutineers who lean all over you when you are counting papers after they have just been outside smoking.

#15 Froggilicious

Posted 01 September 2013 - 06:17 PM

View Postluke, on 01 September 2013 - 06:00 PM, said:



Either that's new or my previous supervisors ignored it!

But sounds good. Last time we started at 7.15am and at 12.30pm I had to ask for a toilet break as none had been offered to me or any of the other staff.

Dont think its new, but I got the impression in training that they have issues every year with OIC's not following the rules, they emphasised it pretty strongly.



#16 TinCatšŸ±

Posted 01 September 2013 - 07:27 PM

I so wanted to work at this election.  

I was paid $50 to hand out how to vote cards for the Democrats about twelve years ago.

#17 FeralCrazyMum

Posted 01 September 2013 - 08:30 PM

Thanks to everyone ... Looks like I'm in for a long day but the extra dollars are going to be very handy.

#18 Bethlehem Babe

Posted 02 September 2013 - 05:15 PM

It really does depend on where you are and how busy.  Lots of one handed food is essential. I've worked the absentee/declaration vote tables in tourist areas and been flat out almost all day.  



#19 Mummy2RyanandAlex

Posted 05 September 2013 - 03:37 PM

I am glad I have found this topic. I am working on Saturday as a polling assistant for the first time .I am a bit nervous. I am working at a school, so fingers crossed it wont be near midnight when I finish. I wonder why they dont pay you from start to finish, does anyone know why?

#20 MrsLexiK

Posted 05 September 2013 - 03:46 PM

How do you get into something like this? Are you employed normally by AEC?

#21 Bethlehem Babe

Posted 05 September 2013 - 03:52 PM

View PostMrsLexiK, on 05 September 2013 - 03:46 PM, said:

How do you get into something like this? Are you employed normally by AEC?
Start here. http://www.aec.gov.au/employment/

#22 .Jerry.

Posted 05 September 2013 - 03:52 PM

I was in charge of a polling booth about 10 years ago.  It was a small booth in a country area.  We were still there at 9.30 at night.  It was a very long day.  
Worst part was the scrutineers sitting there staring. :lol:

I chose not to run the booth at an outback spot I worked.  The lady who did run it ended up with 3 voters all day. :lol:  2 from the town and one truckie.  She did the school's gardening for the day.

#23 Mummy2RyanandAlex

Posted 05 September 2013 - 03:56 PM

View PostMrsLexiK, on 05 September 2013 - 03:46 PM, said:

How do you get into something like this? Are you employed normally by AEC?

I went to the AEC website and filled out the forms under employment, then a few weeks ago I got an email stating where I was working and I had from memory 7 days to accept or decline.

#24 Blondiebear

Posted 05 September 2013 - 04:09 PM

I'm also going to be a polling assistant for the first time this year. I had a call from my supervisor this morning, he said I would get 2 x 30 minute meal breaks plus a couple of 15 minute breaks. I was told to take lunch and dinner and a cushion. I know the pay is not actually great for how long the day will be, but I'm kind of looking forward to it, it will be interesting to be part of the process for a day.

#25 Mummy2RyanandAlex

Posted 06 September 2013 - 08:53 PM

Hi, just a quick question. On the form that we have to take with us in the morning, it says (office address) Is this the address where we will be working?




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