We maintain a pool of senior election officials (SEOs) who take on specialised election management roles during election events. Our SEOs play a major role in the delivery of elections across Victoria.
What do senior election officials do?
SEOs work as election managers and assistant election managers at each major election event. These roles are more complex and involved than other casual election roles. We appoint SEOs to these temporary roles in the lead-up to each election, for a period of around 15 weeks.
Being an SEO involves
- being available for short-term contracts every 2 years
- working in a dynamic environment that is challenging but supportive
- using your leadership skills to support teams of local staff
- making a meaningful contribution to democracy in your community
- competitive pay rates
- full training
- positions across Victoria
Election managers and assistant election managers work in election offices and look after many election activities. These activities can change depending on the type of election. Some key activities SEOs will be responsible for at the October 2024 local council elections are:
- setting up the election office
- making sure the election office can be safely accessed by staff, candidates, and the public
- secure management of electoral materials
- making sure safety and emergency procedures are followed
- leading a team in a high-pressure and deadline-driven environment
- appointing casual election staff
- training and managing staff
- approving staff timesheets
- completing staff assessments
- hosting information sessions
- processing candidate nominations
- conducting ballot draws
- answering candidate questions
- managing teams to receive postal vote envelopes and check their eligibility to proceed to the count
- managing the security and tracking of ballot papers
- helping anyone who visits the election office with their voting questions
- planning and overseeing counting activities
- managing scrutineers
- reporting and declaring results of the election
Successful SEO skills
To be successful as an SEO you must:
- be able to effectively lead a pop-up team of short-term staff
- be a strong communicator
- be highly organised and able to multi-task to meet strict and inflexible deadlines
- have sound computer skills and be able to learn new applications
- be able to follow strict procedures to ensure that elections are fair, impartial, and conducted according to law.
You do not need prior election experience to apply for the SEO pool. Our SEOs come from a range of backgrounds, such as teaching, policing, farming, retail, and more.
The pool includes:
- people who are retired or transitioning into retirement
- people who have the flexibility to take extended leave from their work, such as professionals, freelancers or small business owners
- parents returning to the work force
And lots more from all walks of life.
The senior election official experience
0:04 As you find as you go along, that experience is great, but the ability to get things done,
0:11 is probably more valuable.
0:13 You can teach anybody how to be a voting centre manager, but you can't teach anybody how to manage
0:19 people, how to talk to housewives, university students, people that, you know, English might
0:26 be a second language. You become a policeman, as well as an official, as well as someone that can
0:34 help lift a pram as to someone that can help someone fill in their ballot paper.
0:40 It's really an amazing sort of diverse range of skills that you've got to bring.
0:53 We run a farm. Angus beef cattle and calf operation. We have a plumbing business Taylor's
1:01 Plumbing and I also run a cleaning and maintenance business in the area and I have 3 children.
1:10 I've always been interested in elections, and certainly more on the administrative side of
1:14 elections rather than the you know political side. So, when I saw the job advertised I thought
1:19 that's something that I'd be really interested in and I thought it would be a good opportunity
1:23 to learn some new skills and do something a bit different than I do in my day-to-day role.
1:32 I do like the managing of the election, making sure that everything is in order,
1:39 appropriate. There is a lot of attention to detail, yes you do need to count the number
1:45 of pencils that you're allocating to the school there, because if you give double the amount to
1:51 this particular polling centre then you'll run out by the time you get to the last one.
1:55 So it's very much attention to detail.
1:57 I think you've got to be organised, and enjoy being organised,
2:02 there's a big administrative component that I think you've got to enjoy doing.
2:07 I think you've got to be outgoing to a degree and you're responsible for hiring quite a lot of staff
2:12 throughout the 8 weeks, and you've got a short time to get to know them.
2:16 You need to be able to take responsibility to be a leader but also be part of a team.
2:22 You need to be able to give direction to other staff because things change within a moment.
2:28 I was really encouraged to give it a go because I thought I could do it
2:33 and best thing I've ever done.
"Being an SEO is challenging but very fulfilling. I get real satisfaction from leading and supporting people from across the community to create a team to get the job done. It’s a fast-paced environment, but very rewarding if you thrive on learning new skills, working with people from all walks of life, and really want to feel like you’re making a difference" - Trevor Sutherland, senior election official.
You do not need election experience to be considered for an SEO role, but you do need to be eligible to work. To be eligible you must be:
- an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, or hold a current work visa
- over the age of 18
- willing to undertake a National Police Records check and Working with Children check
We want our elections workforce to reflect the diversity of Victoria. That's why we encourage applications from:
- people with disabilities
- people who speak English and other languages
- Aboriginal peoples.
Disclosure of political activities
Having staff who are politically neutral is critical to our impartiality. We will ask you to complete a disclosure of political activities before we appoint you to a role. It is legal for us to refuse employment to a person because of any political membership or activity.
Sometimes we have to reject potential staff because of their political activities. If you want us to review that decision you can submit a request for review. Instructions on how to request this review will be provided with any rejections.
SEOs appointed to election positions are paid in one of 2 ways:
- Salary packages (fixed term): a fixed amount paid out over a specific time period. We use fixed term agreements for the election period of major election events
- Casual rates: for SEOs in casual roles. Casual rates are used for senior election officials working outside a fixed term period.
Pay rates depend on the type of election and the role. Current base rates for SEO roles range from $32.72 to $53.20 an hour. A 25% casual loading is added to the base rate for casual roles.
Senior election officials are also paid for all training time.
The senior election official handbook (PDF, 14 MB) contains more information about pay and allowances.
Expressions of interest
If you want to know when our next round of recruitment begins, we can add you to our expression of interest list. Please email us at SEOrecruit@vec.vic.gov.au with your:
- full name
- contact details
If you have any questions not covered here please read the documents below for more information. You can also contact our personnel helpline or send us an email.
Phone: 1300 783 043 (9 am to 5 pm weekdays)