Life of a returning officer is hectic but rewarding

Adam MacInnis
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Fred Jeffery has held a myriad of jobs, ranging from teacher to bus driver. But none can quite compare to his current one as returning officer for Pictou East.

Pictou East Returning Officer Fred Jeffery says his position, which he's in for the first time this year, is among the most challenging he's ever had.

“It’s one of the most challenging positions I’ve ever had,” he said.

Training for the job started last November and even in the days before the election started he was busy getting ready by checking out polling sites in various communities to make sure they were up to standard.

“As a returning officer, you and your staff are totally in charge of administering the election,” he said.

That’s not a job that he takes lightly.

Working six days a week at the Eureka Fire Hall where the returning office for Pictou East is set up, he and his staff have been busy. Often he finds himself in on Sunday putting in extra hours to get the job done. From constant updates to the electoral list to preparing for the staffing of Election Day itself, quiet moments are few.

“You don’t have a life,” he said. “You don’t have any time to yourself.”

But he loves being part of the democratic process. From working with the electorate to the politicians and parties themselves, he’s enjoying it.

There have been many changes to the electoral process in Nova Scotia this year. One of the biggest differences is continuous polls, so people can vote at any time during the election. In Pictou East Jeffery said they’ve already had more than 200 stop by. Elections Nova Scotia is also allowing people to request a ballot be sent to their home or will even send a team of two to come out and allow whoever is at the home to vote at that time. There is also the option for people working out west who live here to vote by having a ballot sent to them.

Jeffery is excited about how this may help more people vote.

“It’s a great democratic thing,” he said.

For information on the 12 different ways you can vote on or before the Oct. 8 Election Day click here. 

Geographic location: Pictou East, Nova Scotia

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  • Dave
    October 01, 2013 - 14:29

    Fred has a teachers pension plus a bus drivers income and now he is a returning officer. How much income does he need in retirement. I could care less when he says he is so busy.

    • Tammy Gillis
      October 03, 2013 - 06:19

      Well, Dave, Fred applied for the position and went through the interview and testing process befpre being offered this position. If you don't think he should be doing the job, perhaps you should have applied yourself. I had been offered a position, after the interviews, and went for the training.....which I can assure you is rigorous, but had to withdraw for personal reasons. I know what the job takes, and feel Fred will do it justice. I can also say with some confidence, that not too many people would be willing to do it for what it pays! Good Luck Fred!!!!!