Election Observer with Democracy Volunteers

5 May 2022

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When We Need You

5th May 2022

About 'Election Observer'

Democracy Volunteers is the UK's leading election observation group. We observe elections to assess the quality of them and to report back to returning officers, the UK's Electoral Commission, the government and the public.

On May 5th 2022, we will be deploying around 200 voluntary observers, accredited by the Electoral Commission, to observe the elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly as well as local authorities across England, Scotland and Wales.

Volunteer info 

On May 5th 2022, we will be deploying around 200 voluntary observers, accredited by the Electoral Commission, to observe the elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly as well as local authorities across England, Scotland and Wales.

Volunteers will be tasked with collecting data from inside polling stations and counting venues to assess the electoral process.

The day will consist of travelling around your designated area (this will be within your city’s wider area) and visiting polling stations with a partner, in order to help us collect data on a wide variety of subjects. Don’t worry: This will all be explained in depth at a training and deployment event taking place in the week prior to polling day. Election observation is a great way to learn more about the democratic process in action, learn more about electoral standards in the UK and contribute to civil society!

Key things to consider before applying are:

  • You must be available all day from 6:45am until 10:15pm on May 5th 2022. The day is very long and tiring, but enjoyable and rewarding!
  • You must be polite and respectful to all officials and the public throughout the day in line with our code of conduct.
  • Have a positive mental attitude.
  • Be able to follow the training provided and accurately record data.
  • Be available for a training and deployment session in your area scheduled to take place in the week prior to the election (More details will be given nearer the deployment)
  • The total number of anticipated hours including training and observing is approximately 20 - 30 hours.

Here is a list of skills which you could gain by observing elections with Democracy Volunteers:

  • Teamwork - It is important that observers work collaboratively as a pair and alongside the wider deployment.
  • Communication - Observers must communicate regularly with each other and the core team to update progress. Observers should also introduce themselves to polling staff when entering the polling station and explain that they will observe the voting process for 30-45 minutes.
  • Organisation - Observers often arrange their own meeting times and routes throughout polling day.
  • Eye for detail - There is a lot to see in the polling station so observers develop an ability to monitor events closely.
  • Multitasking - Similarly often several events often occur simultaneously in a polling station so multitasking skills will be developed!
  • Patience - We do not interfere but observe the voting process and report back to the core team afterwards.
  • Impartiality - Observers must not participate in any partisan campaigning before an election so we gain an understanding of issues from a range of standpoints.

Expenses are covered for travel and subsistence on polling day and for counting. Full training is conducted online and we will be holding a series of online events to tell potential observers more about the process.

Application is by CV to Harry Busz at harry.busz@democracyvolunteers.org or by going through your university hub. Once processed we will be in touch with all applicants within 10 working days informing you whether we intend to proceed with your application. More information can be found about Democracy Volunteers at democracyvolunteers.org

(All observers will be equipped for elections based on the health limitations in place at the time and be registered by Democracy Volunteers with the UK's Electoral Commission).

Commitment: You will need to be available for all of polling day on May 5th 2022. You will also need to be available for an introductory chat, a welcome meeting, online training, training seminars and other events. These will all have various dates and will be conducted on multiple occasions to allow for flexibility to fit into your schedule.

Comprehensive online training will be provided through our online school. This training will take around 3 hours and be completed at your convenience. You will also need to attend a follow up training seminar where you can ask any additional questions you have about the role as well as a pre-deployment briefing.

All observers will have masks and access to hand sanitiser. A dedicated module in your training course will cover Covid-19 and election observation and how to stay safe on polling day.

We welcome applications from persons with disabilities. Please let us know this as early as you can in the application process so that we can accommodate. Please note that in order to be considered for this role you must be apolitical. This means that we cannot accept applications if you are a member of a political party or are actively campaigning for a candidate at these elections.