Properly trained Election Day workers play an essential part in ensuring that elections are successful. Regardless of the capacity in which a person is working on Election Day, that individual is primarily responsible for providing a vital civic duty to all registered electors by ensuring that their right to vote is preserved. The courteousness, attentiveness, honesty and commitment of election workers during the long Election Day at the various Polling Stations are critical to the success of conducting an election.
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will continue this week to examine some of the key roles of Polling Day staff on Election Day. Last week, we delved into some of the roles and responsibilities of the Presiding Officer and the Assistant Presiding Officer. This week, the focus will be on the roles of the Poll Clerk, Ballot Clerk and the Information Clerk. Please be reminded that the focus of this feature is primarily to inform electors of what to expect from Polling Day Staff when in a Polling Station to cast their ballot on Election Day.
The Poll Clerk
There are several duties that the Poll Clerk has to perform on Elections Day before the Polls commence, during the Polls, and after the Polls are closed. At the opening and during the Poll, the Poll Clerk must do the following:
manage the Queue;
interview the elector when he or she approaches the desk;
request the elector to produce his or her National ID card;
check all documents to ensure that the elector is entitled to vote, whether for himself or herself, as a proxy, or to assist a visually-impaired or otherwise differently-abled person, or with a Certificate of Employment;
announce loudly, for all to hear, the serial number and name of the elector
place a ‘tick’ next to the elector’s serial number
refer ordinary electors to the Assistant Presiding Officer
refer special electors (the differently-abled) to the Presiding Officer
The Ballot Clerk
One of the persons working on Elections Day who has great responsibilities is the Ballot Clerk. During the Poll, there are specific duties that must be carried out precisely by the Ballot Clerk in order to ensure that key elements of the voting process are carried out.
During the Poll the Ballot Clerk must:
constantly monitor the ballot box
check the ballot paper for the official mark (six (6) digit stamp)
ensure that the elector’s finger is stained with electors ink and allow him or her to cast their ballot.
politely instruct the elector to leave the Polling Station after he or she has successfully cast their ballot.
The Information Clerk
Information Clerks will be placed at Polling Places where there are several Polling Stations. As the job title suggests, they will be working on Elections Day specifically to give information to electors and to direct them to their appropriate Polling Station. The Information Clerk will maintain the orderly flow of registered electors within the central polling place to which he or she is attached. Where there are two or more Polling Stations located in one compound, an Information Clerk will be stationed there to:
check for the elector’s name on the list
direct the elector to the Polling Station in the compound where he or she has to vote.
advise the elector to check with the hotline at the GECOM Secretariat/Returning Officer’s Office/Deputy Returning Officer’s Office if his or her name is not found on any of the lists.
The Information Clerks, who are among the most important GECOM staffers at Polling Places, will be selected from among the most competent of the Commission’s permanent staff. In fact, GECOM’s staff is continuously being trained in the essential electoral principles and processes for the efficient and transparent conduct of elections on May 11, 2015. Those persons to be selected as Information Clerks will demonstrate their intrinsic value to the overall electoral management process, especially when they will be – in many instances – the first persons with whom electors will come into contact on Polling Day.
The staff that will be assigned to work at the various Polling Stations has been fully trained to ensure that the conduct of the Polls proceeds in free fair, transparent, effective and efficient manner. Electors can be assured that all the highly trained clerks will be performing their duties in accordance with the established criteria and tenets set out by GECOM, so as to guarantee a successful Election Day.
It is the right of every eligible elector to go out on May 11, 2015 and vote as early as possible. All of GECOM’s Polling Stations throughout the country will be opened from 06:00h to 18:00h.