The Electoral Commission

The independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK

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2017 local elections campaign in Great Britain


  1. Advertising
  2. Partnerships and public relations
  3. What we did to promote the voting system in Scotland
  4. What others did to promote voter registration
  5. Campaign performance

What we did to promote the voting system in Scotland

In Scotland our campaign aimed to raise awareness of how to vote using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) electoral system, specifically the requirement to rank candidates in order of preference using numbers. Voters in Scotland have only used this system in two previous elections, so it was important for them to know how it worked so their votes could be counted correctly.

We delivered a voting guide to every household in Scotland which set out how to vote using STV. It also included other important information such as who is eligible to vote, the role of local authorities, and when and how to register for the local elections. This was delivered to every address in Scotland from 3 April.

We also prepared and promoted short animations on Facebook and Twitter, which illustrated how to complete the ballot paper and we ran outdoor advertising in key locations in major cities.

We formed two media partnerships, with Trinity Mirror newspaper group and Bauer Radio.

Our partnership with Trinity included sponsored editorials and native advertising which went out across their network of local newspapers. They carried digital banner advertising on their websites, and other sponsored content such as a local elections quiz, vox pop videos about the importance of the elections, and native advertising content. They supported this with extensive social media activity.

Bauer produced 30 second radio ads which explained how to vote using STV and these were broadcast regularly across their network of radio stations. The ads were in the tone and style of the station they would appear on and were integrated with editorial to better engage with listeners.

On the two Sundays before the elections, the local government elections were the focus of the ‘Scotland’s Talk In’ show across the Bauer City 2 Network, integrating an explanation of STV into the discussion.

These partnerships delivered significant extra value versus commercial rates and were integrated with their regular content, meaning audiences would be more receptive to our message.

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