Andy Tiffin – Product Ambassador
Why did you choose to work with Modern Democracy?
I had worked with Siobhan and Carmel over 10 years earlier in their print business and always liked their approach to using technology to make the elections process easier and more efficient for voters and elections officers. I was a customer of the Modern Polling product and when I semi-retired and moved into consultancy last summer we kept in touch and the opportunity to become a Product Ambassador for the Modern Polling solution arose. I had no hesitation in saying yes and I joined MD in August 2021.
What did you do before Modern Democracy?
I spent 18 years as ESM at Hart District Council in Hampshire and was a board member of the AEA for 8 years. I was elected Chair in 2018. It was an honour to represent the UK’s election community in meetings with Government, the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders.
What led you to work in this field?
I fell into elections by accident, after all it is not something that anyone ever leaves school wanting to do, is it? I had an 18-year career with Halifax and Standard Life. When they announced the office where I was working in Reading was going to close, I saw an advert in the local newspaper for elections manager at Hart advertised. I thought I would apply, as it would be good interview practice for when I needed to get a job. I got offered the election job and took it, thinking I would stay until a financial services job came along. But elections are the sort of career that once it’s in your blood, you can never let it go.
What are the main duties in your role with Modern Democracy?
As Product Ambassador I act as a link between the Electoral Community and the MD team in Derry. I know what the ESM job is like, and I can make sure that the real-life experiences of electoral teams are considered when we develop our products. To help me with that, I run our Focus Group and Teams Forum that is available for all our multi-year deal customers. It allows us to meet, support and inform all our customers about the product.
What do you see happening with elections in 2022?
I think that whereas we might have thought that the Covid measures we put in place in 2021 would be over, I think a lot of people will be less confident of that now with Omicron. I think that measures to encourage social distancing and reduce unnecessary contact will still be a feature of 2022 as they were in 2021 and having a plan to manage that will be vital. That’s why our product is so useful.
Are there any misconceptions that people have about the polling process?
I think a lot of the public think that elections just happen, as if by “magic”. They don’t understand the planning that everyone puts into effect throughout the year so the story of each poll is only about the result and not the process.
Tell us a fact that most people don’t know about you.
One of my ancestors, Edward was one of the founding fathers of the USA and was the first Governor of the State of Ohio and they named the City of Tiffin in Ohio after him. I have visited there, but it didn’t get me in anywhere free or a better seat at a restaurant, which was a shame.
Do you have any advice for poll clerks/ polling officials?
Stay calm, listen to the training you get from your core Electoral Team, they really know their stuff and be proud of what you do by helping to deliver the democratic process. It is an important role and can be taken for granted.
What is your favourite thing to do outside of work?
Cycle and take pictures, both of which can be exhausting and relaxing in equal measure.
If you think Andy’s role sounds like something you would be interested in please get in touch here as we are looking to grow our product ambassador team.