How to Win Elections

How to Win Elections


Starting Point

Types of Election

Electoral Areas

Polling Districts


Electoral Register


Registering as a Candidate




Local Press

Press Release

Public Meetings

Online Campaigning

Eve of Election

Knock-Up Areas

Election Day

Number Tellers


The Count

Post Election Party

Post Election

Election Expenses


About The Author


Registering as a candidate.

In the UK there are rules about who can stand as a candidate but assuming your candidate or yourself, if you are the candidate, meet the normal criteria, live or work in the area, don’t have any outstanding criminal convictions and aren’t a bankrupt you still need to register as a candidate with the returning officer.

The returning officer is usually a senior official of the local authority who has overall authority for the electoral process in their area. If you contact them and say you wish to be a candidate you can request a nomination form which they will send you.

To be correctly nominated you will need to have a proposer, a seconder and ten supporters who will all need to sign your registration form. All of these people have to be registered electors in the area for which the election is being held. There is a place on the form for them to supply their polling number to prove that they are registered electors although at this time they will not have received their polling cards so this is where your copy of the Electoral Role proves its worth again. If someone is adamant that they want to sign your form but they are not registered to vote do not let them as this will invalidate your form and your candidature. For council elections they have to be electors in the ward in which you intend to stand and for general elections they have to be registered in the constituency for which you intend to stand. If you do not have an organised party with a membership on which to draw you can ask family members or neighbours as long as they are registered electors. These are allowed and strangely being a signatory to a candidate’s nomination is not an indication of support for that candidate’s campaign, only for their right to stand as a candidate.

The process of getting 12 people to support you sounds straightforward, and mostly it is. It can go wrong though with disastrous consequences for your campaign. Here's an example of what NOT to do.

The 2015 General Election was held on the same day as the district council election of that year. One of the major parties had a candidate who was both a Parliamentary and a Council candidate. With 10 days to go before both elections two of electors listed as supporters on his nomination papers for the Council election reported to the Returning Officer that they had not signed the nomination papers. The matter was then refered to the Police who launched an investigation into possible electoral fraud. On hearing this, the party suspended the membership of their candidate, despite the fact that it was now too late for him to be removed as a candidate and replaced by someone else. This means that in both elections this party were now lacking an official and supported candidate. As I write the matter is ongoing which is one reason I have mentioned no names.

You will have to deliver your nomination papers to the returning officer by a pre-determined date usually 4 –5 weeks prior to the election day.

Registering the Candidate is usually carried out by the Agent; it is one of their main roles. In law a candidate needs to have an agent although you can been your own agent. The agent is legally liable for the conduct of the campaign so it helps if they have been involved before and know what to look out for. The agent should be organising all the activites discussed in this guide.

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