Search This Blog

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Are you guys still here...?

That was the question I was asked last Tuesday as I passed one of the hairdressers from a neighbouring shop in the walkway behind the the block of shops where the office is.


In a previous post I had described how my DH was the Returning Officer for a state electoral district in the State election here in Queensland. I have been working as an election assistant in the office. This role entailed clerical duties as well as 'working the counter' for the 2 weeks of pre poll where people could come to our office and vote before the election. Pre poll centres have always existed but this time the service was advertised more in the media and even in social media! Consequently the pre poll staff were 'rushed off their feet' so to speak.

Saturday of last week was election day. DH and his staff, worked all weekend, as the close of polls on Saturday at 6pm is just the start of lots of work in the background. Scrutineers for the political parties watch us in the office as we count  the pre poll votes. The polling booth staff bring in all the equipment they have used after they have counted their ballot papers. So bags of 'stuff' soon filled up the office...and as for that cardboard...it seemed like mountains of the stuff! lol.

This photo shows the backpacks which contained the laptops that were used by the Issuing Officers in the polling booths. This use of technology was a 'first'!

From Sunday morning, absent (declaration) votes from our district (these are votes cast by people from other districts in Qld who voted in this district this election)  are packaged up ready to be sent to the districts from which such voters came. Now our district also gets packages of envelopes from all over the state, containing ballot papers to be included in the count. When people vote outside their own district on polling day,they are not marked off the roll at the time of voting.

I got reasonably adept at putting the sticky peel-off labels on the courier packs :-) two of us got 86 parcels ready to go out by early Monday morning.
When the envelopes are back to the voter's  district these envelopes have to be checked off one by one via the computer and the voter is marked off as having voted.
(Please note...image taken from a training booklet; not a real person! lol)



There are hundreds of these envelopes, plus postal votes that get counted after the election.
The bin soon filled up with these tear off strips!


So my many and varied tasks during this last week have been, packaging up envelopes ready for the Toll man (the courier service used) to pick them up, photocopying pages of figures from polling booths, counting and check counting ballot papers, *counting counting counting, opening envelopes, checking voters off the roll, making cups of tea for the boss, working out the Notional Two Candidate Preferred Count,cleaning up the table where the urn sits, filling the urn, answering the phones.

I also removed string from the pencils that had been used in the polling booth voting screens...

Helped sort the bags of stationery items used by polling booth staff...





And that cardboard 'mountain'? My lovely BiL helped DH take it to the recycle drop at the tip...

* We count the envelopes before we open them; we count the ballot papers that we remove from them...if these don't balance we count again! We put the envelopes into bundles of 20 and the ballot papers into bundles of 50. We use a lot of rubber bands!

Only one more day of work for me and I can go back to being retired. So goodbye to this work mobile phone which completely flummoxed me at first...I hadn't realised how much I'd forgotten how to use this sort of phone since I got a smart phone 3 years ago! It was a sharp 're learning' curve in that first week! Lol



9 comments:

angela said...

Well at least it's all over and you can retire again. I'm sure after this you will appreciate it a little more lol

Susan said...

Most of us probably don't think twice about all the work that goes on behind the scenes - I knew there was a lot of counting but hadn't ever really thought about all the peripherals - like the pencils and the rubber thumb things etc

Phew!!- certainly time for retirement again.

Vireya said...

Great to see some of the "behind the scenes" stuff. I was once a scrutineer many years ago. I found it fascinating, but that's just the Saturday night. I didn't realise how much there was for the electoral officials to do over such a long period.

Maria said...

It interesting to see what happens after we vote.. Well done to the busy folk...

Dorothy said...

Certainly lots going on in the background. I've seen it from the 'other' side when my late DH used to go to the National Tally Room here in Canberra whenever there was a federal election. He was with the ABC - totally different from what you were doing but equally interesting. I enjoyed reading about what goes on at the polling places - thanks for a very interesting post Maria. xox

Marit Johanne said...

There is really a lot of work behind the elections that we don't know! Now you can relax and enjoy your knitting and sewing again :)

Mizumatte said...

enjoy your retirment.Jaana

allotmentadventureswithjean said...

An interesting insight into what is happening behind the scenes.

I was very happy to do away with my old phone with those alpha/numerical numbers.

Susan said...

Well that was interesting Maria, didn't realise all the work that's done actually!
Funny about the phone, I'm so far behind - that Nokia looked smart ;D) lol !!