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Local elections in England and Wales

On this page, you will find all of our guidance and resources for Returning Officers administering local government elections taking place in England and Wales, as well as our guidance for Combined Authority Returning Officers administering a combined authority mayoral election in England on 4 May 2017.

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Latest updates

  • Guidance update


    We have now published our core guidance for ROs and CAROs at the 4 May 2017 polls.

    We are currently in the process of updating the resources and will be making these available on this page throughout January and early February 2017.

    In the meantime, if you have any questions, or are seeking a particular resource for a by-election, please contact your local Commission team.

Part B

Planning and organisation

This part covers:

  • Planning (including the identification and training of staff, the selection and booking of venues and management of contractors and suppliers)
  • How to maintain the integrity of the election
  • Raising awareness
  • Access to proceedings by electoral observers and Commission representatives

Part B: Planning and organisation (PDF)

Part C

Administering the poll

This part covers:

  • The nomination period (including access to the register by candidates, spending limits and the nominations process)
  • The production of notices, poll cards and ballot papers
  • Polling station voting

Part C: Administering the poll (PDF)

Part D

Absent voting

This part covers:

  • The absent voting timetable
  • Proxy voting
  • Preparations for absent voting processes and the production of stationery
  • Procedures for the issue, receipt and opening of postal votes

Part D: Absent voting (PDF)

Part E

Verifying and counting the votes

This part covers:

  • The principles for an effective verification and count
  • Preparations for the count
  • Managing the verification and count
  • Verification and count procedures

Part E: Verifying and counting the votes (PDF)

CARO guidance

Guidance for Combined Area Returning Officers administering a combined area Mayoral election in England

This part covers:

  • Combined Area Returning Officer's role, responsibilities and knowledge
  • Our guidance and performance standards for Combined Area Returning Officers

Planning guidance for Combined Area Returning Officers (PDF)

Guidance for Combined Area Returning Officers - Delivery of key processes (PDF)

Electoral administrator