What is The Role of a Polling Clerk in Kenya? An election official, election officer, election judge, election clerk, or poll worker is an official responsible for the proper and orderly voting at polling stations. Depending on the country or jurisdiction, election officials may be identified as members of a political party or non-partisan. They are generally volunteers or paid a small stipend for their work. Each polling station is staffed with multiple officials. The duties include signing in registered voters, explaining voting procedure and use of voting equipment, providing ballots, and monitoring the conduct of the election.The Polling Clerk is one of the election officials in Kenya. The major role of a Polling Clerk in Kenya is to ensure the good conduct of elections as in the polling station as assigned by the Presiding Officers.
The Polling Clerk is answerable to the Presiding Officer in the performance of their work. The Polling Clerk may perform any other duty assigned by the Returning Officer at the tallying centre.
Returning officer is the statutory authority to conduct the polling, counting process and to decide validity of ballot paper and election commission has no power to overrule him or her.
WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF AN ELECTION CLERK?
Working under the supervision of the polling place judge, student election clerks may assist with the following duties:
- Organizing the polling place before the polls open.
- Ensuring that qualified voters are permitted to vote.
- Checking in and processing voters.
- Distributing ballots to registered voters.
- Providing instructions and assistance to voters.
- Answering voters’ questions.
- Explaining the use of the voting equipment.
- Maintaining order in the polling place on Election Day.
- Obtaining results after the polls are closed and closing the polling place.
- Serving as an interpreter for voters who speak a language other than English.
Election day in Kenya
On election day you will:
- arrive at the polling station on time to help the Presiding Officer set the polling station up for the day
- set up the polling station as directed by the Presiding Officer
- before 7am make sure you know the process for marking the register and issuing ballot papers, as instructed by your Presiding Officer
- write the elector number on the Corresponding Number List (CNL) against the ballot paper number to be issued
- make sure that electors are only given one ballot paper for each election or poll taking place on election day by checking the ballot paper number against the CNL each time one is issued
- make sure that all electors are treated impartially and with respect
- keep the secrecy of the ballot at all times including no commentary on social media on how busy or quiet the polling station may be
- be polite and professional when dealing with all visitors to the polling station and be impartial at all times
- provide cover for Presiding Officer and other poll clerks when required; all breaks should be taken during quiet periods
- work as a team with other Poll Clerk(s) and your Presiding Officer
- support the Presiding Officer to make sure that voters can cast their ballot in secret
- speak English in the polling station at all times
Close of poll
At close of poll you will:
- make sure that any voters in the queue at 10pm are able to receive their ballot papers and cast their vote
- clear and tidy polling station as required
- support Presiding Officer in checking paperwork where requested
- stay at the polling station until the Presiding Officer has completed all paperwork, the polling station has been made good and the building has been secured
As well as the duties listed, you may be asked to take on other tasks appropriate with your pay level.
Person specification of a Polling Clerk
- have good communication skills and the ability to follow instructions
- have good personal presentation and commitment to care
- have good administration skills and attention to detail
- be a team player and have a flexible attitude
- be punctual and reliable
- willing to share contact phone number with other members of staff working at the same polling station
Working hours and breaks
A Poll Clerk will work for approximately 16 hours on election day. You will be required to provide your own refreshments and take appropriate breaks throughout the day to avoid tiredness. Polling station staff are not permitted to leave the premises during the hours of poll.
A Poll Clerk is not permitted to have carried out duties on behalf of any political party or candidate at the election. All staff will be required to sign their agreement to this and that they will maintain the secrecy of the poll.
- Literate and numerate
- Good timekeeping
- Ability to carry out work as instructed, even under pressure
- Ability to treat people fairly and with respect at all times
- Ability to remain politically neutral
- Not connected to, nor will assist, any political party or candidate at the election
- Compliance with requirement for secrecy and instructions regarding the use of social media
- Acceptance of waiving the Working Time Directive for the period of employment
- Must not have been convicted of an offence under Electoral Legislation
- Experience of working at a polling station
- Previous customer-service experience
- Diplomacy and tact when working with members of the public
How to Register as a Voter in Kenya
1. How do you register as a voter?
- An eligible voter must present himself or herself to the registration officer with his/her original identification documents at the designated registration centre during working hours.
- The applicant fills the Application for Registration form (Form A)
- Registered voters will be issued with a registration acknowledgement slip bearing the voter′s details.
- However, this slip will not be a requirement for voting.
2. When can someone be denied registration?
- When you are under 18 years of age
- When you are not in possession of the original ID card or a valid Kenyan passport
- When one is un-discharged bankrupt
- When you have been found guilty by an election court or reported to be guilty of any election offence during the preceding five years.
- If a competent court declares you to be of unsound mind
3. Is an eligible voter allowed to register more than once?
No! A person is only allowed to register once as a voter in a constituency or registration centre of his or her choice. It is an offence to register more than once.
4. What is the penalty of registering more than once?
Persons who have registered more than once are liable on conviction, to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand Kenya shillings or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or both. Such persons shall be barred from participating in the immediate election and the next that follows.
5. Can a person transfer as a voter to another registration centre or constituency?
YES! A person may transfer as a voter to another registration centre of his or her choice within the registration period.
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