A polling station committee is the supervisory body before which ballots are cast. The committee monitors the voting process and carries out the provisional and final counts.
A polling station committee consists of a chair and two other members.
The committees are selected by local councils under the supervision of the area electoral commissions.
The members of the polling station committees and their alternates are selected by a public draw among all the people included in the list of voters of the pertinent committee who can read and write and are over 18 and under 70 years of age.
This public draw will be held between 22 and 26 December.
People chosen as members of the committee are notified between 22 and 29 November. Being notified after this period will not be grounds for invalidating the appointment.
The people appointed will receive a handbook of instructions together with the notification.
People who are members of the polling station committees are entitled to:
- Receive a per diem.
- Paid leave on the day of the election, if it is a working day, and a reduction of 5 hours in their working hours on the day after the election.
- Protection by the Social Security system against accident and illness and situations that may arise from their participation in the election.
Yes. Refusal to take up the post is considered an electoral offence and can be punished by law with imprisonment for three months to one year or a per day fine of six to twenty-four months.
The legal grounds for not accepting the post of chair or other member of a polling station committee (regular or alternate) are as follows:
- Grounds for ineligibility are set out in Article 6.1 of Organic Law 5/1985, of 19 June, on the general electoral system (LOREG).
- Being a candidate in the election.
In addition, people appointed to the committee can claim other grounds with supporting documents, which the commission will assess before ruling on the claim within five days.
How long do I have to site grounds for exemption from participating in a polling station committee? Where do I submit them?
People who have been appointed members of a polling station committee have a period of seven days from notification of the appointment to file an appeal before the area electoral commission for the municipality in which they live.
Grounds preventing you from being a member of the committee must be justified and documented.
The area electoral commissions must rule on appeals within five days (between 22 November and 6 December) and notify the person concerned.
There are two possible outcomes for claims for exemption:
- The grounds cited are rejected: the area electoral commission will notify the member of the committee that their appointment is definitive.
- The grounds cited are accepted; the person will be excused from the post and will be notified, and another committee member will be appointed who will also be notified.
No appeals may be filed against the decision of the area electoral commissions.
What should I do if I can’t attend the polling station and be part of the committee on Election Day?
- If you cannot take up your post once the deadline for claiming exemption has passed, you must report your inability to the area electoral commission at least 72 hours before the day of the election and provide any necessary supporting documents. If the impediment occurs after this period, the commission must be notified immediately and, under all circumstances, before the committee is constituted.
- If you cannot go to the polling station at 8 am on the day of the election on justifiable grounds, you must advise the pertinent area electoral commission as early as possible.
If you have no justifiable grounds, failure to go to the polling station is punishable by law with imprisonment of three months to one year or a per day fine of six to twenty-four months.
If the day of elections is a working day for me, am I entitled to a leave of absence to be a member of a committee?
Yes. People who do not have a day off on the day of the election and prove that they are members of polling station committees or observers have the right to paid leave corresponding to a full working day on this day and a reduction of five hours of the following working day which must also be remunerated.
You will be paid for this leave, for which you do not have to make up time, by the company you work for once it has been demonstrated that you have been a committee member or observer.
The polling station committee is constituted at 8 am on voting day.
The chair, the other two members and the alternates meet at the polling station for their committee to set up the polling station committee.
Each regular member has two alternates. Both regular members and alternates must be at the polling station by 8 am on 21 December.
If all the regular members turn up, the committees are established with the regular members.
If a regular member is missing, the first alternate will take their place, and if they are missing too, the second alternate will take their place.
In the case of the chair, if the person appointed as the regular chair does not turn up and none of their alternates are present either, the first regular member will be the chair or the second regular member if the first has not turned up either.
A polling station committee cannot be constituted without its chair and other two members.
If the committee cannot be constituted, the members of the committee who are present, the alternates who have turned up or, if there are no members of the committee, the government authority must issue and sign a statement of the events and send it by registered post to the area commission, which they must also advise by telegram or telephone.
In this case, the commission will freely appoint the people who are to constitute the polling station committee and may even order some of the voters present in the polling station to become members of it.
If the committee cannot be constituted by 10 am, the members present, the alternates who have turned up or the government authority must report it to the pertinent area electoral commission, which will call the committee for a new vote, which must take place within the following two days.
Once the committee has been constituted, the alternates who have not, in the end, been appointed as members of the polling station committee may leave the polling station and are relieved of their duties.
Each polling station committee must have at least the following:
- A properly closed and sealed ballot box.
- A voting booth in the same room where the voting takes place.
- A sufficient number of envelopes and ballot papers for all the lists standing in the elections.
If any of the supplies and materials required for voting are missing at the time specified for constituting the committee, the chair has to inform the area electoral commission (JEZ) by phone immediately, which will provide them.
Yes, as long as at least two other members of the committee remain.
What happens if there are two members left at the polling station table and one of them has to leave for a moment?
Voting is stopped until the absent member returns. Moreover, in the event this were to happen, the area electoral commission will take the necessary measures for the proper conduct of the voting process.
In the event the committee temporarily only has one member, can the area electoral commission ask someone who has come to vote to take part in the committee?
Yes. The area electoral commission may order a voter to become part of the committee.
What happens if I am a member of a polling station committee and I arrive late on the day of elections?
If the committee has been constituted, you cannot take your seat as a member because you will have been replaced by an alternate.
What happens if I am a member of a polling station committee and I become ill while carrying out my duties?
Voting will continue with the remaining members of the committee.
Who replaces me if I am the chair of the committee and I become ill while carrying out my duties on Election Day?
You will be replaced by the first member. If the second member does not agree, your deciding vote as chair of the committee empowers you to take this decision.
In addition to being a member of the committee, can I participate in a polling station committee in some other way?
In addition to the chair and the two members, the observers can also take part in its deliberations.