Many of us will be heading to the polls today as we cast our vote in local elections. 

If you've voted before you may have noted people who stand outside polling stations and who may ask for your electoral number. 

These people are known as tellers and are usually volunteers for candidates. 

Using guidance from the Electoral Commission we explain what a teller is and the rules around it. 

Who are election tellers?

Tellers stand outside polling places and record the electoral number of electors who have voted.

By identifying electors who have not voted and relaying this information to the candidate or their supporters, tellers play an important role in elections and referendums.

The candidate or their supporters may then contact the voters who have not yet been to vote during polling day and encourage them to vote.

Tellers check who is about to vote or has voted.

This usually involves politely asking voters for their poll card, elector number or name and address.

Read more:

Returning Officers may advise tellers that they may approach voters for information as they either enter or leave the polling station.

If asked, tellers should explain that they are activists seeking to determine who has actually voted.

Tellers should not display or distribute election material. 

They must not attempt to induce, influence or persuade an elector how or whether to vote.

Tellers may wear coloured rosettes or a badge of a reasonable size, as this assists electors by making it clear that they are activists and not electoral officials.

Do I have to give a teller my information?

Tellers have no legal status and voters have the right to refuse to give them any information.

They should not be confused with polling agents, whose appointment and rights are described in legislation.

Tellers, unlike polling agents, may not be admitted to the polling station in their capacity as tellers. 

Voters are not obliged to comply with any request for information.

Tellers must not press voters if their initial request for information is declined.