In late March, I went to a branch meeting where members were to vote for our candidate for the Worcestershire County Council election. It was only the third meeting I had been to and I still didn't know what to expect. I certainly didn't imagine I would walk away that night as the Election Agent for our just elected candidate Leisa, but that was what happened.
I felt nervous about it but also really geared up! It was great to have a chance to help out and I felt I could in this role as I had worked on Electoral Services departments in the past. First question though, what was the process for county council elections when you've only dealt with boroughs?
Back home that evening, I'd found out that a 'division' is county council speak for ward and we needed 10 signatures from electors in the division, eep! Leisa got right on it and after a day had them (whoop!). In the mean time, I read all I could from the council and Electoral Commission on the election process and my role, and got hold of the election office and central office to get the ball rolling. Firstly, we needed to get all the paper work prepared and in to the council in 5 days. It was a little tight but we did it and Leisa Taylor was officially the Rainbow Hill candidate!
The Election Agent role has a few parts to it that revolve around the election process. It involves working with the election department so all forms and dates are met. It gives the opportunity to scrutinise election processes like the count; and it's about making sure all the finances of our campaign are accounted for. It sounds kind of dry but it's fun for me to see the other side of elections so many years down the line, and as a part-qual accountant I can get my nerd on!
With WEP and the branch being new, there has been the opportunity to get involved in different ways, which is good fun and a learning curve. Just the other weekend we had our big canvassing push. Canvassing is not something I have done before and honestly I was really scared, but it was a positive experience. People were receptive, they opened up about what they thought and listened too, and by the end we got some definite voters (amazing!).
Written by Natalie Mitchell, Election Agent