News / Presiding Officer at a local polling station – An experience

Presiding Officer at a local polling station – An experience

Blog / ParliaMentors

F&BF Communications

28 / 04 / 21

by Adam Khan

My name is Adam Khan, and I am in my final year of my BA History and Politics degree at Coventry University, and will soon be beginning my MA International Relations degree at the University of Warwick. I am passionate about empowering and educating marginalised groups, and I have devoted thousands of hours alongside my studies in doing this. As part of my networking, I came across the Faith and Belief Forum’s ParliaMentors Leadership programme, which appealed to me to get involved as it would enable me to be involved with another scheme for the benefit of the local community, whilst also developing my own leadership skills. I have since found that the ethos of the Faith and Belief Forum is very akin to my own.

Due to the nature of my degree, getting experience in the political system is paramount to understand the practical applications of the theories discussed. Thus, I found an opportunity on my local council website to work as a Poll Clerk in one of my local polling stations for a number of elections. Since then, I have now been offered the role of Presiding Officer for a joint polling station in the May 2021 elections as I have worked at previous elections. As a Presiding Officer, my duties are to collect and return the ballot box, ensure that all rules and regulations are followed in the polling station, ensure that the Poll Clerks are able to do their jobs effectively, and ensure that the functions of the election are as accessible as they can be on polling day.

I think it is incredibly important to do this role as it serves as a vital function to enable democracy in this country, a privileged which many people do not have around the world. Being party apolitical can hinder some avenues of work in the political sphere, so working in the delivery of elections is a beneficial alternative to this. Additional benefits of this have included gaining more of an in-depth knowledge of the behind-the-scenes processes at elections, as well as being able to learn more about the local community which I am part of.

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