As I’m still no further forward with the ‘fake job’ offer, I’ve been temping for the last 3 weeks at the local council on the election hotline. It’s amazing how much information you can learn about one subject in such a short amount of time – for instance, did you know that if you can’t get to the polling station to vote, you just need to ring your local party and they will come and pick you up on the day? I also found out what goes on behind the scenes and it’s not pretty. Considering they have done this election stuff the same way for years, witnessing the disorganisation and last-minute decisions, aswell as being told to pass on mixed messages to the general public is scary when the outcome is so important.
The mood of the callers varies; some simply check to see if they are on the electoral roll, others want to know the difference between a postal and proxy vote, some are (understandably) upset because ballot papers, posted out first class, take a week to arrive or worse still, get lost in the post, others are steaming mad because they consider the whole electoral system a farce and shouting or swearing at us seems to make them feel better. Since starting this job, a range of people including cocky students and stressed out businessmen have accused me of disenfranchising them – I’d never even heard the word before but I quickly worked out that it means that I personally (no matter what the circumstances are), have denied them their vote. It’s my fault they missed various deadlines, the post hasn’t arrived, they had to go on holiday, the volcano ash cloud had delayed them etc etc.
Once the postal votes have been received, people refuse to read the instructions and tear off pieces that should stay attached, lose returning envelopes, sign their partners ballot papers and even vote for the wrong party! You wouldn’t believe the amount of people who don’t realise they are voting in both a local and general election, and many are honestly confused when the parliamentary papers don’t give Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg as candidates! And these people have a say in how the country is run..!
It’s my last day tomorrow and although its been fun and I’ve met some great people, it’s time to move on to temping pastures new…