26 January 2021

A black sealed ballot box being carried towards two female counters

Planning for the next elections, which are scheduled to take place on 6 May 2021, is well and truly underway. Local people are invited to sign up now to fill a number of essential paid roles at polling centres across the District.

Polling stations are located in towns and parishes across the South Hams and need to be staffed by a team of Polling Clerks and Presiding Officers. To sign up as a Poll Clerk you don't need any previous experience as full training is provided.  The role of Presiding Officer requires previous experience of polling duties and training will also be provided.  The cost of training is fully covered and participants in the training are paid to attend.  There are also Counting Assistant roles on 6 May in the evening and on 7 and 10 May in the daytime, where no experience is necessary.  

At the moment, the plan is for these vital elections to go ahead whilst following strict COVID-safe guidelines. Anyone working in the polling stations or at the counting stations can be reassured that their safety, and the safety of the public, will be a priority. 

South Hams District Council's Returning Officer Andy Bates explained: "Our Poll Clerks, Presiding Officers and Count Assistants all play a vital role in preserving the democracy of elections. They ensure local communities have their voices heard. Preparations to ensure the planned May election is safe started last year. Now we need people to join our team, to take part in the training, and to make it happen.  If you'd like to be part of the election this year and want to find out more about rates of pay and what's involved, please sign up now." 

Team members are needed for elections taking place for the District, Town and Parish Council by-elections, Devon County Council elections and the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner election, which was postponed from May 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Applications for the roles are invited from local people who can work on any of these events. To apply for a role you must not be politically active, should be over 18 years old and able to travel to a polling station or count venue.

The Council is putting arrangements in place to help ensure polling stations are safe places to vote. The public and staff can expect to find at the polling booths many of the measures we've all become used to over recent months in shops and banks. This includes hand sanitiser, floor markings and face coverings. The latest guidance will be followed. If COVID-restrictions mean the planned elections are unable to take place in May, recruits will be able to take the roles when the elections do occur.

If you're interested in joining the team, please head to our Elections Recruitment page. Here you'll find more information on the roles being recruited and you can sign up to register your interest. 

For more details on the local elections please go to the Electoral Commission website.