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Title AGMA ELECTIONS Version: 1. 0 Issued: January 2015 COORDINATION AND SUPPORT TEAM Briefing for Prospective Candidates and Agents UK Parliamentary General Election and Carlisle City Council Elections 7 May 2015
Introductions and Background • Dr Jason Gooding (Acting Returning Officer) • Ian Dixon (Electoral Services Officer)
What do you need to know? • • • The Election Process Roles and Responsibilities Key Dates Changes to Electoral Registration Nominations Appointment of Agents The Campaign Postal Voting Polling Day The Count Key Contacts
Parliamentary and Local Elections – Key Factors • Parliamentary General Election in: – Carlisle Constituency • electorate as of 10 th March 65055 • number of postal voters 10642 • Brampton, Longtown & Rockliffe, Lyne, Irthing, Great Corby and Geltsdale, Stanwix Rural and Hayton Wards in Penrith and the Border Constituency etc • Carlisle City Council Elections in 18 Wards Belah, Belle Vue, Botcherby, Castle, Currock, Denton Holme, Harraby, Morton, St. Aidans, Stanwix Urban, Upperby, Yewdale, Burgh, Dalston, Irthing, Longtown & Rockcliffe, Lyne, Stanwix Rural • 1 seat in each Constituency and Ward • Parish Council Elections in 27 Parishes
Combination of Polls • UK Parliamentary General and Local elections to be held on the 7 May 2014 • Franchise Local / Parliamentary – EU citizens cannot vote at a UK Parliamentary Election (Gs and Ks) • A person is entitled to vote at the 7 May 2015 UK Parliamentary General Election if they are: – registered to vote by 20 April 2015 – 18 years of age or over on polling day – a British citizen, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland – not subject to any legal incapacity to vote • We will have separate postal votes for the Parliamentary election and the City/ Parish elections • One ballot box for all polls will be used • UK Parliamentary General election ballot papers will be white and City Council election ballot papers will be yellow and Parish Council election ballot papers will be green • Verification will commence immediately after the close of poll
Roles and Responsibilities • • • (Acting) Returning Officer – Jason Gooding and Returning Officer (Local Government) – Jason Gooding Co-ordinate all aspects of both polls including the nomination process, candidate and agent liaison and count and declaration Electoral Registration Officer – Jason Gooding Responsible for maintaining, publishing and supplying the electoral register Electoral Services Team Supports the Returning Officer and the Electoral Registration Officer in preparing the Electoral Register and the regulation of both elections. Main contact for candidate and agent enquiries The Electoral Commission Guidance for Candidates and Agents on election processes, Party and Election finance and campaign spending Cumbria Police Work with the RO to investigate alleged electoral offences and ensuring public order at polling stations and at the count Candidates, Agents and Campaigners Conduct of the campaign in accordance with the law and national and local protocols / code of conduct Interests of the Voter? • Public Awareness • Participation • Registration • Turnout • Understanding the Process • Integrity • Take part & trust the result!
Key Dates Parliamentary Event Deadlines Dissolution of Parliament 30 March Receipt of writ not later than 1 April (expected 31 st March) Publication of Electoral Register to be used for the election 1 April Publication of notice of election 31 st March OR not later than 2 April Nominations open between 10 am and Wednesday 1 st April – 4 pm Thursday 9 th 4 pm any working day after publication of April notice of Election Deadline for nominations 9 April (4 pm) Deadline of appointment of election agent 9 April (4 pm) Statement of persons nominated (if no objections) 9 April (5 pm) Deadline for receiving applications to register to vote 20 April (midnight)
Key Dates Parliamentary (Cont’d) Event Deadlines Deadline for receiving new postal vote and postal proxy applications and for changes to existing postal or proxy votes 21 April (5 pm) Deadline for receiving new applications to vote by proxy 28 April (5 pm) Deadline for the notification of appointment of polling and counting agents 29 April (midnight) Polling Day 7 May (hours of poll 7 am to 10 pm) Parliamentary General Election Count 7 May Local Election Count [ 7 and 8 May Expenses deadline 12 June
Key Dates Continued City Council / Parish Council Event Deadlines Publication of Electoral Register to be used for the election 2 nd March Publication of notice of election 20 th March Nominations open Monday 23 rd March– 4 pm Thursday 9 th April Deadline for nominations 9 April (4 pm)
The Campaign • The register to be used for the Parliamentary election is the register published on the 1 April 2015. The register to be used for the local election is the register published on the 2 nd March 2015 • Candidates and agents are entitled to request a free copy of the electoral register and absent voter lists and update lists for the Constituency/ Ward they are standing in from when they become a candidate • 20 April is the deadline for applications to register to vote at 7 May poll • Constituency and Ward maps are available from the Electoral Registration Section and have been included in Nomination Packs • Candidate in the parliamentary election are entitled to one Freepost Mailing for one election communication to electors in your constituency
Campaign Spending Parliamentary Election • Regulated period: – Long campaign started 19 December 2014 • £ 30, 700 plus 6 p per elector (65055 x 6 p= £ 3, 903. 30) Total £ 34, 588 – Short campaign = date of candidacy to 7 May 2015 • £ 8, 700 plus 6 p per elector (65055 x 6 p=£ 3, 903. 30) Total £ 12, 580 • Election agents must submit an election expenses return, plus a Candidates and Agents declaration, to the ARO no later than 35 days from declaration of result (8 May 2015 = 12 June 2015) • For further information on party and election finance available in Electoral Commission guidance or contact them: Tel: 020 7271 0616 Email: [email protected] xx • ARO cannot advise on campaign spending matters
Campaign Spending City Council Elections • Spending limits for candidates is £ 740 plus 6 p per elector in the ward registered to vote on the 2 March information on electorate figures for each ward is included in nomination pack • Election agents must submit an election expenses return to the Returning Officer no later than 35 days from declaration of result [12 June if Friday declaration] • Returning Officer must publish notice of election expense returns • Failure to submit a campaign spending return is an offence • For more information on party and election finance, contact the Electoral Commission: • Tel: 020 7271 0616 • Email: [email protected] xx
The Campaign - Electoral Registration and Postal Vote Applications • • Critical role for campaigners to encourage registration and guidance from the Electoral Registration Officer should be followed to ensure no person is disenfranchised A new electoral registration system was introduced in June 2014 Individual Electoral Registration (IER) means that an elector is now responsible for their own registration and cannot rely on the ‘head of the household’ registering them during the annual canvass Electors can now register online via www. gov. uk/register-to-vote Each prospective elector (new applications or home movers) needs to complete an Invitation to Register (It. R) and supply their National Insurance number and a date of birth to register to vote. These details are then verified with Department for Work and Pensions records Verification of identity means registration is no longer automatic – if they do not match the ERO has to request ID EARLY REGISTRATION IS KEY!
Changes to Electoral Registration and the Campaign • If an application is incomplete or an error has been made on the application cannot be processed and further information will be requested from the elector – MAKE SURE ALL APPLICATIONS ARE PASSED TO THE ELECTIONS TEAM ASAP • Applications not received by the Electoral Services Unit by midnight 20 April 2015 will not be processed in time for the election. • Only electors who are individually registered are eligible for a postal vote – key message for voters • Local and National Code of Conduct for handling registration and postal vote applications and postal ballot papers
Qualifications to Stand for Election to UK Parliament • Candidates must meet the required qualifications: – Be at least 18 years of age – A British citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a citizen of a commonwealth country who does not require leave to remain in the UK, or who has indefinite leave to remain in the UK • Disqualifications Certain people are disqualified from becoming an MP such as: Civil Servants, Members of Police Forces, Members of Armed Forces, Government Nominated Directors of commercial companies, Judges, Peers who sit and vote in House of Lords. People who are subject to bankruptcy restrictions order or debt relief restrictions order
Qualifications to Stand for City Council Election • • • Candidates must satisfy the following criteria on the day they are nominated and be: – At least 18 years of age – British, qualifying Commonwealth (with indefinite leave to remain), EU member state citizen They must also meet one of the following four qualifications: – Be registered as a local government elector for the local authority area at both the time of your nomination and throughout your term of office if you are elected. – Have occupied as an owner or tenant any land or other premises in the local authority area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of nomination – Their main or only place of work during the last 12 months has been in the local authority area – They have lived in the local authority area during the whole of the last 12 months The RO cannot advise on the application of these criteria – seek legal advice if unsure
Nominations Overview • Nominations for Parliamentary Election open on 1 st April between 10 am and 4 pm on any working day • Wednesday 1 st April – Thursday 9 th April • Deadline for nominations is 4 pm on 9 April • The ARO cannot legally accept nomination papers including the deposit outside of these times or after the deadline • Informal checks are available by appointment • City Council / Parish Council Nominations open on Monday 23 rd March • Monday 23 rd March – Thursday 9 th April • Deadline for nominations is 4 pm on 9 April • The ARO cannot legally accept nomination papers after the deadline
Parliamentary Nomination Papers • By 4 pm on 9 April, the (Acting) Returning Officer must be in receipt of the following: – A Nomination Paper – Home Address Form – Candidate’s Consent to Nomination – Request for Emblem (party candidates only) – Certificate of Authorisation (party candidates only) – £ 500 deposit • Nomination papers must be signed by a proposer, seconder and 8 assentors (all must be UK Parliamentary electors on the 1 April 2015 register in the Constituency in which you are standing)
City Council Nomination Papers • By 4 pm on 9 April, the Returning Officer must be in receipt of the following: – A Nomination Paper – Candidate’s Consent to Nomination – Request for Emblem (party candidates only) – Certificate of Authorisation (party candidates only) • Nomination papers must be signed by a proposer, seconder and 8 assentors (all must be registered electors on the 2 nd March 2015 register in the ward in which you are standing)
Completing Nomination Papers • Make sure nomination papers are filled in correctly: – mistakes may invalidate the nomination – What goes on the nomination papers appears exactly on the ballot papers – The commonly used name is the name which will appear on the ballot paper – Include your full name and full home address (for example use street, not st) – Check all dates, signatures, full names and addresses are included especially postcodes – You must include which Constituency (Ward) you are standing in • Subscribers MUST be registered electors for the Constituency, on the 1 April 2015 register and elector numbers must be provided • Subscribers MUST NOT have a (G) or (K) next to their names (EU citizens) • A nomination paper will be deemed invalid if any of the subscribers have already subscribed another nomination form for that constituency/ Ward • Use the candidate checklist supplied in your nomination pack
Nominations – Consent to Nomination • The candidate must make a declaration that they are not disqualified under the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 (as amended) OR standing for election in another constituency on the same date • The Candidate’s consent to nomination MUST be signed and dated within one calendar month before the last day for delivery of nominations on 9 April (no earlier than 10 March 2015)
Nomination Papers – Home Address • Candidates must submit a home address form • Part 1 must be completed in full by all candidates • Part 2 must be completed if you wish to request that your home address is not made public • Instead, candidates must provide the Constituency in which they reside or name of country if outside of the UK. The name of that constituency will be printed on the ballot paper
Nominations - Deposit • By 4 pm on the last day for nominations (9 April), the Acting Returning Officer must be in receipt of a deposit of £ 500 • Methods of payment as stated in the notice of election: Bankers Draft, Cash • Bankers Draft must be made payable to: – Carlisle City Council Acting Returning Officer • Deposit returned if you poll 5% of total valid votes polled
Appointment of Election Agent • Election Agent: – Responsible for the proper management of the electoral campaign in accordance with the law, including financial management and compliance – Notification of appointment must be made in writing and reach the Returning Officer by 4 pm on 9 April (the form is included in the nomination pack) – Office address of the Election Agent must be in the Constituency or in an adjoining Constituency – or defaults to the address of the proposer – The form must be signed by the candidate and agent – Candidates will become their own agent by default if none is appointed – home address may therefore be published (including for those candidates who have asked for their address to remain private)
Appointment of Other Agents • Postal Vote Agents: observe the Postal Vote Opening process. Unlimited number can be appointed, subject to health and safety requirements at venue • Polling Agents: observe proceedings at polling stations. Unlimited number can be appointed but only one Polling Agent per candidate is allowed in a polling station at any one time • Counting Agents: observe the verification and count proceedings. The number of counting agents per candidate is calculated after close of nominations. • Deadline for the appointment of polling and counting agents is 29 April • All Candidates and Agents must show pass issued by the (A)RO to gain access to the verification / count
Free candidate mailing • 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. • You 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
Electoral Registers Access to electoral roll by candidates – once you officially become a candidate: once you or others have declared yourself a candidate after this date / date you submit your nomination papers • Make written request to the ERO – forms are available from the office / are included in your nomination pack.
Integrity of the Poll • Electoral integrity at the centre of all administrative process • Candidates, agents and campaigners have critical role to ensure integrity and confidence in the electoral process • Cumbria Police will investigate any allegations of electoral fraud. • Dedicated SPOC • Required standards of behaviour set out in the Code of Conduct – During the campaign (especially handling registration forms) – On Polling Day – At the Count • Candidates and agents are responsible for managing the behaviour of their supporters / tellers
Cross Boundary Issues • A number of the City Council’s Rural Wards form part of the Penrith & the Border Constituency • Any issues or queries regarding electoral registration or the City / Parish Council elections in these wards should still be referred and reported to Dr Gooding. Issues relating to the Parliamenatry election should be referred to the (A)RO for Penrith & the Border • Combined Poll Cards, separate Postal Votes for Parliamentary City/ Parish elections • Verification of ballot papers will take place in Penrith and we will collect votes for the local elections on the Friday morning for those local election counts • (A)ROs will liaise with EROs about candidate registers • Electors who have enquires about their registration status should contact their local Council’s elections team
Poll Cards • Every eligible voter will receive a poll card or a postal poll card • Electors entitled to vote in both elections will receive a single combined poll card; electors entitled to only vote in the local election will receive a card for just locals • First batch poll cards for electors registered by the start of March will be delivered 31 st March • Second batch poll cards for electors registered between start of March and 20 April will be delivered around the 27 th April
Postal Votes • • • 10642 Postal Voters across the City – higher turnout of Postal Voters (70 – 80%) Postal Vote Statement: – All Postal Voters must complete and return with their ballot paper – Requires their signature and date of birth – 100% Postal Vote Statements checked Confidence in the system relies on integrity of campaigners We will have separate postal votes for the Parliamentary election and the City/ Parish elections First batch postal votes will be delivered by 22 nd/23 rd April Second batch postal votes will be delivered by 27 th April Postal vote opening sessions will begin 24 th April in the Committee Rooms, Civic Centre Candidates, agents and postal vote agents are permitted to attend opening sessions Check sessions are on before attending Code of conduct – no candidate or supporter should put themselves in a position where their honesty or integrity, or that of the candidate or party, can be questioned
Postal Votes (cont’d) • For security reasons, absent voters are required to provide a signature and date of birth on applications • 100% personal identifiers checked against original applications • If you are considering printing your own application forms, they must comply with the law. Please speak with the elections office if you wish to design your own forms to make sure they are legally compliant • IER – An elector can only successfully apply for a postal vote if they are individually registered
Polling Day • Polls open 7 am to 10 pm • List of polling station available from Elections Office • Tellers: – Do not enter the polling station – Maintain the secrecy of the ballot – No aggressive / intimidating behaviour – Obey the instructions of the Presiding Officer, Polling Station Inspector, RO and the Police • Delivery of postal votes during the day • The elections office will be staffed from 6. 30 am until late in the day when the staff will set up the Count Centre
The Count • Sands Centre, Main Hall – Access from 9. 45 pm – Information will be provided to Agents – The A(RO) will make regular announcements as the Count progresses – Counting Agents are there to scrutinise the process – Access is by pass, only for candidate and the candidate's guest, the election agent and counting agents. This will be strictly applied.
The Count (Cont’d) • Stage 1 Verification: – Separation of Parliamentary, City and Parish ballot papers – Counting the number of Parliamentary, City and Parish ballot papers, not the way people have voted – Check against Presiding Officer record including counting all the unused ballot papers – Longest part of the process – accuracy is key – Verification will commence directly after the close of poll – Scrutiny and transparency critical – ask questions – Deadline for notification of counting agents and guests is 29 April
The Count (Cont’d) • Stage 2 – Count and Declaration of Parliamentary Result: – After verification – Counting the number of votes for each candidate in Parliamentary election and identifying rejected ballot papers – Informal sharing of results with agents – Declaration by ARO
The Count (Cont’d) • City Council / Parish Council Counts – After Declaration by ARO – Proceed with counts for City Council Wards in Carlisle Constituency ie all urban wards and Burgh and Dalston and declare those results on Thursday night/ Friday morning – Friday morning collect boxes with 4 City Council wards in Penrith & the Border Constituency Lyne, Longtown & Rockcliffe, Irthing, Stanwix Rural and any Parish Council elections from Penrith. – These will have been verified by Penrith & the Border count. – Will need to verify postal vote figure for these wards plus any postal votes handed in at polling stations for these wards. – Proceed with counts for those wards/ parishes in the Civic Centre Committee Rooms from 11 am Friday 8 th May
Further Information / Guidance • The Elections Team • The Electoral Commission have produced guidance for Candidates and Agents standing in a Parliamentary General Election http: //www. electoralcommission. org. uk/i-am-a/candidate-or-agent/uk -parliamentary-general-election-great-britain
Key Contacts • • Jason Gooding ARO – 01228 817001 Elections team Ian Dixon – 01228 817555, Sally Little and Sandra Tibbetts – 01228 817556 Cumbria Police SPOC Royal Mail Election Support Team - 0845 607 6424 Electoral Commission Party Finance - Tel: 020 7271 0616 Email: [email protected] xx
Questions? Elections staff will be available at the end to go through the nomination papers with you.