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Election staff

Count assistant

The count team opens ballot boxes and ensures the contents of the boxes agree with the ballot paper accounts before counting the votes for each election candidate.

Count assistant duties, while not difficult, require the ability to work in a pressurized environment while taking the greatest of care to ensure mistakes are not made.

The Role

  • attend training (if required)
  • to maintain the secrecy of the ballot
  • act impartially at all times and respect the confidentiality of the material handled
  • refrain from engaging in conversations with candidates, agents, councillors or guests


Count assistants work in teams, as designated by the Returning Officer.

As directed by a Count Supervisor, assistants: 

  • verify the contents of the ballot boxes
  • count the number of ballot papers in a ballot box
  • recount (if required)
  • divide ballot paper into votes for individual candidates and count them using the method designated by the Returning Officer
  • recount (if required)

The length of time a count takes depends on the size and nature of the election, and whether recounts are required. You must be prepared to stay as long as it takes and may wish to bring your own food. Normally, the count takes place immediately after the close of poll. You will start working late into the evening and potentially into the early hours of the morning. You will be given adequate breaks and refreshments will be provided.

The Returning Officer is not permitted to employ anyone who is/or has carried out duties on behalf of any political party or candidate at the election. All staff will be required to sign an agreement to maintain the secrecy of the poll.

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