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May 2015 Elections AGENTS Nomination briefing 18 March 2015.

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Presentation on theme: "May 2015 Elections AGENTS Nomination briefing 18 March 2015."— Presentation transcript:

1 May 2015 Elections AGENTS Nomination briefing 18 March 2015

2 2 Housekeeping Please turn all mobile phones off or to silent There are no fire alarm tests today - if the alarm goes go to the nearest fire exit and follow directions from staff

3 3 Election objective Achieve an accurate result in which voters, candidates and political parties have confidence

4 4 Topics who’s who key dates of the election timetable qualifications and disqualifications nominations agents postal votes the poll counting of votes purdah candidates’ expenses contacts

5 Who’s who The Acting Returning Officer is responsible for running the general election The Returning Officer is responsible for running the local elections David Buckle is the Acting Returning Officer for the Henley, Oxford West and Abingdon and Wantage constituencies David Buckle is also the Returning Officer for the South and Vale and parish elections The Electoral Registration Officer is responsible for maintaining the registers of electors and absent voters lists David Buckle is also the Electoral Registration Officer Contact details are provided later 5

6 Key dates Publication of notice of local elections (district and parish) 25 March Publication of notice of Parliamentary elections 1 April District and parish nominations commence 10am on 25 March Parliamentary nominations commence10am on 2 April Close of all nominations and notice of appointment of election agents 4pm on 9 April Publication of statement of persons nominated, including notice of poll and situation of polling stations 5pm on 9 April, (or 4pm on 10 April where objections) Deadline for applications to register to vote 20 April Deadline for new postal vote applications/changes to existing postal or proxy vote arrangements 5pm on 21 April 6

7 Key dates Deadline for applications for new proxy votes 5pm on 28 April Appointment of polling and counting agents29 April Polling day7 May – 7am to 10pm Deadline to apply to vote by proxy on grounds of medical emergency or if unexpectedly called away because of employment or service 5pm on 7 May Replacement for lost/spoilt postal votes ends 5pm on 7 May Return of election expenses+ 35 calendar days from result (if result declared on 8 May, 12 June) 7

8 Qualifications - Parliamentary Candidates must satisfy criteria on the day they are nominated and on polling day: –be at least 18 years old –either be a British citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a qualifying Commonwealth citizen There is no requirement to be a registered elector in the UK 8

9 Disqualifications – Parliamentary Certain people are disqualified from becoming an MP, such as: –civil servants –members of police forces –members of the armed forces –government-nominated directors of commercial companies –judges –members of a foreign legislature (outside the Commonwealth) –peers who sit and vote in the House of Lords –those who are subject to a bankruptcy restrictions order or debt relief restrictions order (but not those who are simply bankrupt) in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and have not been discharged 9

10 Qualifications – Local Elections Candidates must satisfy criteria on the day they are nominated and on polling day: –at least 18 years of age –British, qualifying Commonwealth citizen (with indefinite leave to remain), national of an EU member state Also at least one of the following: –registered local government elector for South Oxfordshire or Vale of White Horse authority area respectively –occupied as owner or tenant any land or premises in the local authority area during the whole 12 months preceding nomination –principal or only place of work (including unpaid) during last 12 months in local authority area –lived in the local authority area during the last 12 months 10

11 Disqualifications – local elections A person cannot be a candidate if they: –are employed by the relevant local authority or hold a paid office under the authority (including joint boards or committees). Candidates may be ‘employed by the local authority’ if they work at certain schools, fire services, police or health services –are subject of a Bankruptcy Restrictions Order (or interim order) in England or Wales –have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more (including a suspended sentence) without option of a fine, during the five years before polling day –have been disqualified under the Audit Commission Act 1998 –are serving a disqualification due to being found guilty of a corrupt or illegal practice by an election court –hold a politically restricted post 11

12 Submitting nomination papers All candidates must submit by 4pm on 9 April: –their nomination form –their home address form (Parliamentary election only) –their consent to nomination Party candidates will also need to submit by that time: –a certificate authorising the use of a party name/registered description on the ballot paper –a written request to use one of the party’s emblems on the ballot paper 12

13 Submitting Parliamentary nomination papers take care when completing your nomination papers as mistakes may invalidate your nomination! Complete your nomination papers early and you may ask us to provide an informal check the nomination form, consent to nomination form and home address form must be delivered by hand and cannot be submitted by post, fax or other electronic means. the nomination and home address form may only be delivered by: –the candidate –their proposer or seconder, or –their election agent (if the Acting Returning Officer has previously received notification of their appointment). £500 deposit – preferably cash or bankers draft (or by BACS in time for confirmation of receipt – we can provide bank details) 13

14 Nomination form include the candidate’s full name (and home address for local elections) optional: complete commonly used name box(es) if commonly known by a name other than full name and wish to use it instead description field – three options: - leave blank - Independent - party candidates can use party name or description authorised by a certificate issued by or on behalf of the nominating officer 14

15 Nomination form - subscribers 10 subscribers from the constituency or ward the candidate is standing in parish nominations only require two subscribers, a proposer and seconder, from the parish/parish ward must sign and print their names check details of subscribers against electoral register that is valid on - 2 March 2015 for local elections - 1 April 2015 for Parliamentary elections If they are not on the relevant register, they cannot subscribe a nomination. only ask subscribers to sign after completing the name and description fields on the form 15

16 Home address form – Parliamentary only must state home address in full must state if candidate does not want their address to be made public and to appear on the ballot paper. If so: -give the name of the constituency in which their home address is situated or -if they live outside the UK, the name of the country in which they reside 16

17 Consent to nomination form - Parliamentary Must include: statement that the candidate is qualified and not disqualified from standing their date of birth name, address and signature of witness statement that they are not a candidate in another constituency 17

18 Consent to nomination form – local elections Must include: name and address which area standing in confirmation of qualification(s) that apply (at least one, but select all that apply) date of birth and signature witness’ name, address and signature 18

19 Certificate of authorisation party candidates must have written permission to use the party name/description from the nominating officer (or a person appointed to act on their behalf). the certificate may: –allow the use of the party name or a description –allow the candidate to choose whether to use the party name or any of the descriptions registered with the Electoral Commission must be submitted with the other nomination papers by 4pm on 9 April 19

20 Emblem request form party candidates can ask for an emblem to be printed on the ballot paper emblem request form must be submitted by 4pm on 9 April party candidates should supply an electronic version of the emblem to the (Acting) Returning Officer if required. 20

21 Election agent responsible for the proper management of a candidate’s election campaign; particularly its financial management. notification of appointment must reach the (Acting) Returning Officer by 4pm on 9 April - form is included in nomination pack a candidate will become their own agent by default if none is appointed 21

22 Delivery of nomination papers the nomination papers MUST be delivered by hand to the (Acting) Returning Officer at: Old Abbey House Abingdon-on-Thames Oxfordshire OX14 3JE please make an appointment with the elections office (tel: 01235 540421 or email for both informal checks and to submit nomination papers please deliver nomination papers as early as possible 22

23 Other agents other agents can be appointed to attend postal vote openings, polling stations and the count: –candidates must give notice in writing of any people appointed as polling and counting agents by 29 April –the appointment of postal voting agents attending a particular opening session must be made before the start of each session. We will give 48 hours’ notice We will give you a detailed schedule of postal vote opening sessions at the briefing on 16 April All postal vote opening will take place at Old Abbey House, Abingdon-on-Thames 23

24 Free candidate mailing - Parliamentary all candidates who are validly nominated are entitled to send one election communication, free of charge, to electors across the constituency it must include matters relating to the election only candidates can choose to send either: –one unaddressed election communication of up to 60 grams to every postal address, or –one election communication of up to 60 grams addressed to each elector contact Royal Mail to make arrangements 24

25 Access to electoral register/absent voting lists - Parliamentary access by candidates – once they officially become a candidate: –earliest, on 30 March if candidates, or others, have declared themselves a candidate on or before this date –after 30 March, once candidates or others have declared themselves a candidate or you submit nomination papers, whichever is earliest make written request to the ERO 25

26 Access to electoral register/absent voting lists – local elections access by candidates – once they officially become a candidate: –earliest, on 25 March if they, or others declared themselves as a candidate –once candidates or others have declared themselves a candidate after this date/date they submit their nomination papers make written request to the ERO 26

27 Access to electoral register/ absent voting lists only use data for permitted purposes –to complete the nomination form –to help candidates’ campaigns –to check that donations/loans are permissible It is illegal to use the data for any other purposes 27

28 Registration candidates and agents are uniquely placed to encourage people to register to vote please encourage people to register as soon as possible although the deadline for applying for the election is 20 April 2015 they should apply as early as possible registration has changed from a household to an individual system even if electors have sent back a household enquiry form, they must respond to any invitation to register forms individuals can now also register online at - it only takes a few minutes please refer people to the online registration or to contact the elections office direct 28

29 Registration when discussing registering to vote with individuals, you will need to make them aware that to register they will need: –their national insurance number –date of birth –address they must respond promptly to any forms received from the elections office – registration may be a two stage process people who do not have/cannot retrieve their national insurance number can still register, but they may need to provide further information - if so, they will be contacted by the electoral registration officer candidates, agents and canvassers should not collect any personal identifier information 29

30 Absent voting if you are encouraging people who don’t have a postal (or proxy) vote to apply for one, make sure you explain that they will only qualify for one if they are (or will be when their data has been verified) individually registered they will be registered individually if: –they applied to register after 10 June 2014 or –were transferred onto the new registers as their details could be matched with official records (they would have received a letter providing confirmation of this transfer) 30

31 Campaigning dos and don’ts you MUST use imprints on all campaign material it is advisable to put it on electronic material too do make sure outdoor posters are removed no later than two weeks after the election do not produce material that looks like a poll card do not pay people to display adverts (unless they display adverts as part of their normal business) 31

32 Code of conduct for campaigners Campaigners are an essential element of a healthy democracy, but their activities should not bring into question the integrity of the electoral process Electoral registration and absent vote applications: - you are advised to direct anyone wishing to register to vote to the online registration site or contact the elections office directly at or on 01235 540310 Anyone wishing to apply for a postal vote MUST first be registered and their details successfully verified. Please refer them to the elections office direct as early as possible 32

33 Code of conduct for campaigners postal ballot packs: –never touch a postal ballot paper –never observe electors completing their postal vote –never handle or take any completed ballot papers or postal ballot packs from voters campaigning outside polling stations: –candidates and agents are allowed to put messages to voters on polling day, including in public spaces outside polling places –keep access to polling places and the pavements around polling places clear to allow voters to enter 33

34 Polling day polling stations open from 7am to 10pm office open 6.45am to 10pm for queries or problems relating to the administration of the election for queries relating to election finance issues, contact the Electoral Commission (contact details shown later) voters in the polling station or in a queue outside the polling station at 10pm can apply for a ballot paper postal votes – can be handed into polling stations within constituency/ward or delivered to the elections office until 10pm a person in a queue at a polling station at 10pm waiting to hand in postal vote can do so after 10pm 34

35 Counting of votes the count for the Parliamentary and local elections will be held at the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre, Audlett Drive, Abingdon-on-Thames, OX14 3PJ count centre will open to candidates and agents from approximately 9.45pm - further details at next briefing on 16 April verification from 10pm to approximately 2am Parliamentary counts 2am to approximately 6am 35

36 Counting of votes candidates, election agents, counting agents and one other person appointed by the candidate are entitled to attend we may apply limits to counting agents details at 16 April briefing after the close of nominations -: 36

37 Counting of votes the votes will be verified for all elections as the ballot boxes are received at the count centre the local and parish elections votes will be consolidated into ward/parish ballot boxes, sealed and stored securely until Friday/Saturday the district council election votes will be counted from 12pm on Friday 8 May at the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre the town and parish election votes will be counted from 10am on Saturday 9 May in Abingdon, Henley and Thame 37

38 Purdah – all elections The build up to elections is called “purdah” or “pre-election period” where publicity restrictions apply This year it will start on 25 March South and Vale will follow statutory restrictions and guidance for local authorities about publicity during the pre- election period Proactive events will be avoided during this period and will not involve councillors standing for election 38

39 Purdah – all elections Information published by the councils in this period will be factual and not refer to political parties or councillors If in doubt, please contact the Communications team for advice and information “Purdah – a short guide to publicity during the pre-election period” is available from the Local Government Association website 39

40 Spending issues 40

41 Candidate spending defined as certain expenses ‘used for the purposes of the candidate’s election’ during the regulated period responsibility of election agent limit on expenses must get and keep receipts (over £20) 41

42 Candidate spending – local elections defined as certain expenses ‘used for the purposes of the candidate’s election’ during the regulated period. responsibility of election agent limit on expenses: –£740 + 6 pence per elector in ward/division on register in force on 2 March 2015 –reduced for joint candidates must get and keep receipts (over £20) 42

43 Candidates spending returns – local elections returns due 35 calendar days after result of election returns made public by Returning Officer sample of returns may be reviewed by the Electoral Commission failure to submit an expenses return is a criminal offence enforceable by police no spending will be reimbursed 43

44 The parliamentary spending limit 44 Fixed amount Variable amount Spending limit

45 The regulated period 45

46 Candidates’ spending returns - Parliamentary returns due 35 calendar days after result of election returns made public by Acting Returning Officer sample of returns may be reviewed by the Electoral Commission failure to submit an expenses return is a criminal offence enforceable by the police no spending will be reimbursed 46

47 Contacts elections office – and telephone 01235 540310for general queries and 01235 540421 for nominations appointments Electoral Commission contacts –For questions on the Commission’s guidance on standing for election, contact us/our-offices –For questions on election spending, telephone 020 7271 0616 47

48 Next briefing A further briefing for candidates and agents will be held here on Thursday 16 April at 5.30pm It will include detailed election and count arrangements 48

49 Further guidance For comprehensive agent/candidate/party guidance, please go to the Electoral Commission website 49

50 Questions Any questions? 50

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