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Election Volunteers

Election Volunteers

If you are in charge of managing your organization's election process, chances are you will need some help. The job of the election committee, election manager or election organizer is to design and ensure a smooth and legally valid election. Therefore you will need helpers on board - and more specifically, election volunteers.

Tasks for Election Volunteers

Prepare your election helpers for a position with significant responsibility. Their jobs are at the core of getting a ballot box election to function properly, ensuring that it proceeds legally and securely as well as influencing voter satisfaction.

As soon as the election starts and the ballot box is set up and sealed, your election team has to supervise over the voting process in person - checking people on the electoral roll manually and keeping a watchful eye on the sealed ballot box. This has to be done all day, for as long as the election is in process. Inform your helpers about their positions of responsibility and their duties while the polling stations are open. Create a guideline for your helpers containing the key information and offer them an introductory training as to what their jobs pertain.

Election Helper Tasks on Election Day:

  • They check the incoming voters against the electoral roll to establish their voting rights as well as helping to determine the final turnout
  • They distribute legally valid ballot papers to the electorate
  • They supervise the election to ensure that is correctly operating - maintaining the secrecy of the ballot, with the voting booths in view
  • They allow voters to cast their votes into the ballot box
  • They help with the counting of votes and release temporary results
  • They seal the ballot box at the end of the election

Helpers are not allowed to help voters fill in their ballot papers.

Motivating Election Volunteers

To begin, gather your whole election team - the election managers, the committee and your helpers. The team has a long day ahead of them! So, how do you motivate volunteers to support your election and ensure its legality?

You should have in the forefront of your mind how to assist your helpers throughout the day. They are volunteers but may receive money for lunch and dinner, such as they do in federal elections. While a financial incentive will help, building a team spirit and enthusiasm together may yield similar results. Firstly is the issue of energy and hydration. Do not save money here as good food and drink will garner better results from your volunteers.

A comfortable atmosphere in your election team, involving election volunteers as soon as possible will help bind your group together. As with creating any team, keeping an eye on who you select can make a huge difference. Clashing personality types may be a detriment to the success of your election. Therefore, when choosing your helpers take care to build a team that will be happy to spend a long, interesting and rewarding day together in polling stations.

Social media can be an invaluable tool in finding election volunteers. Take note of people who have liked, commented or engaged with your organization about the election. You already know, therefore, they have an interest in the election and will be easier to motivate. Emphasizing the role of election volunteer as a position of responsibility will increase its attractiveness.

Here are some helpful tips to help you increase your election turnout.

POLYAS Tip: Before you create your volunteer team, be sure to take note as to what your bylaws contain regarding helpers. Many bylaws state that election volunteers have to be eligible to vote in the election. Read through your institutional bylaws for possible rules and regulations that may help or hinder you when selecting election volunteers.

Choosing an Advance Man

In order to win over particular supporters of your election, take a look at your electorate and see if there is any one person, or group of people, that is particularly well connected and engaged. Try to win them over into becoming your main ambassador - commonly referred to as an advance man.

A good advance man can work wonders on your election, by increasing the amount of information available to voters and increasing general interest too. Expect turnout to increase, as well as a more engaged electorate. Meet with your advance man to prepare voting information and establish clear goals that you would like your ambassador to help achieve.

Read more about using election ambassadors to increase voter turnout