12 Dec The benefits of working at an election
It’s almost Christmas but it’s never too early to get excited about democracy!
Queensland is lucky enough to have two elections in 2020: the council elections on Saturday 28 March and the state election on Saturday 31 October.
No one will blame you if you think these events aren’t much to get excited about. However, it’s still a great opportunity for work experience.
The Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) is already hiring casuals for the council elections and it’s absolutely worth applying. They need people to set up polling booths, count votes and assist millions of voters.
However, there are a few things to note if you’re considering it.
1. Short-term positions
Keep in mind that some positions involve a commitment of several weeks but if you’re applying for the first time it’s likely you’ll work only on election day. This is far from a sustainable career but if you’re happy to give up one Saturday to earn a few hundred dollars and some more professional experience, it’s well worth your time.
Working for a professional public organisation like the ECQ also looks handy on a CV because it shows you’re passionate about helping your community with one of their fundamental rights: voting.
2. Long day
Election day is tiring and potentially stressful. Polls are open from 8am to 6pm and you should be prepared to work several hours before and after those times as well. There is a lot to set up, pack away and count, and that’s without considering the thousands of people who cast their votes and need help.
However, being involved on election day can still be a thoroughly rewarding experience. You’ll be working with passionate and dedicated members of your area who also rely on you to be a part of the team. You’ll all work hard for that day but the skills and experience you gain in teamwork will last for much longer.
3. Political neutrality
The ECQ strictly ensures its employees abide by political neutrality rules. Volunteering for a candidate at any point in the campaign or posting support on social media is absolutely a no-no, as is anything that reflects adversely on your neutrality.
You’re entitled to your own views of course, but urging people to vote for a party when you’re potentially involved in counting votes would seriously undermine the ECQ’s role.
So be smart, avoid plugging any candidate or party in public and stay neutral.
If you want to register, get in early. Applying doesn’t guarantee you a position so it’s best to show you’re keen from the start. It takes about half an hour to fill out the form, which you can find here (points to those who can spot the Spider-Man reference in the personal details section).
The ECQ want to know where you want to work as well as skills you can bring to the table. Experience with Excel or in customer service and communications will help you stand out and make you a valuable member of the team.
It’s also good practice when it comes to applying for more positions in future. Knowing how to list your strengths and assets is important and this is another opportunity to promote your skills and hopefully put them to good use.
Whether you need a bit of extra spending money, more experience on a CV or you just love elections, it’s a worthwhile bit of public service.