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Self-training workbook: Registration Officer

How polling places work

The supervisor

An image that represents a supervisor.

Supervisors oversee the voting process. They make sure that voting desks and registration desks are set up, and that voting is done properly and as easily and efficiently as possible. They support and oversee the work of DROs and they ensure that the registration desk is functioning as it should.

Supervisors also oversee the running of the polling place. Working with one or more information officers, supervisors make sure the polling place is set up properly, that electors can easily access the voting room, that candidates' representatives and other visitors are served properly and are following the rules. Supervisors ensure all health and safety measures are being taken, they prevent problems and solve them quickly.

Ask your supervisor for help when you need it, and be prepared for a supervisor to help make sure you are doing everything properly.

Information officer

An image that represents an information officer.

While the poll is open, information officers direct electors from the entrance of the building to the voting room.

IOs facilitate health and safety measures at the poll. They offer masks and sanitizer to everyone entering the polling place. They may gather information for contact tracing if it's required locally. An IO regularly sanitizes surfaces in the voting room and elsewhere.

As electors enter the voting room, an IO asks if an elector has ID and a voter card, and - based on the answer - directs each elector to the appropriate service desk.

Inside the voting room, an IO regularly collects some of the documents produced at voting desksto be sent back to the office. On election day an IO gives sequence number sheets to candidate's representatives.

On election day after voting is finished, most IOs are assigned to a voting desk to assist the DRO with counting the ballots.

Registration officer

An image that represents a registration officer.

Every polling place has a registration desk, and most polling places have a registration officer who sits at it. Bigger polling places will have more than one.

Registration officers sit at the registration desk. With support and guidance from a supervisor, they work out the situation of electors who come to the desk. Usually electors are directed to the registration desk by the information officer because they didn't bring a voter card and a piece of ID with their name on it.

The registration officer uses a flowchart in their guidebook and several tools at the registration desk to work out each elector's situation before deciding what to do next.

Some electors just need to be directed to their correct voting desk, others need extra steps before they are ready to vote. Some of those extra steps can be completed at the registration desk. If the elector needs to be registered, or if someone is vouching for their name and address, the registration officer can complete those procedures. The registration officer may also complete the Helper Form in either of the two situations which need that form. The registration officer can start - but not complete - the procedure for correcting an elector's information on the list. All other situations – though they might be discovered at the registration desk – have procedures which must be done by the DRO at the voting desk.

On election day, after voting hours, registration officers are usually assigned to a voting desk to assist the DRO with counting the ballots.

A well-run registration desk saves time for electors and relieves some of the pressure on DROs.

Deputy returning officer

An image that represents a deputy returning officer.

Each voting desk is run by a deputy returning officer (DRO). The DRO administers the vote with oversight from a supervisor.

The DRO checks each elector's situation using the DRO's List of Electors and by reviewing the ID and any other documents the elector brings to the voting desk. In some cases the DRO will complete extra procedures and documents to get the elector ready to vote.

Occasionally an extra form or certificate is needed depending on the elector's situation. Some of them would have been completed at the registration desk, others are completed by the DRO.

On election day, after voting hours, the DRO sorts the ballots, counts the votes for each candidate and records the results of voting at their voting desk. Usually the supervisor calls the results into the office.

Notes and questions

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