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Under the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000 and the Representation of the People Act 1983, there are rules about putting imprints on printed election material. 

Whenever printed election material is produced, it must contain certain details (which we refer to as an ‘imprint’) to show who is responsible for the material. This helps to ensure there is transparency about who is campaigning. 

The rules on imprints can apply to all non-party campaigners, whether or not you are registered with the Electoral Commission. 

Different imprint rules apply for campaigners at Scottish Parliamentary elections and council elections in Scotland. Please see Imprints for non-party campaigners – Scottish Parliamentary elections and council election in Scotland for more details.

This factsheet explains the rules you must follow when campaigning in any other election.

Under the Elections Act 2022, imprints are also required on certain digital material. This factsheet does not cover that part of the law. For the imprint requirements on digital material, please see our statutory guidance on digital imprints.

What is a non-party campaigner?

Non-party campaigners are individuals or organisations that campaign at elections, but are not standing as political parties or candidates.

In electoral law, these individuals or organisations are called ‘third parties’. Where non-party campaigners have registered with the Electoral Commission they are called ‘recognised third parties’. In our guidance, we call recognised third parties ‘registered non-party campaigners’.


Last updated: 31 October 2023

What is election material?

There are two types of non-party campaigns: local campaigns and general campaigns.

For local campaigns, election material is published material such as leaflets and adverts that can be reasonably regarded as intended to promote or procure the election of a candidate at an election.

We provide advice and guidance on the rules for local campaigns but we do not enforce them.

Decisions on the investigation and prosecution of imprint offences on election material in local campaigns are a matter for the police and the prosecution services, and any allegations of non-compliance should be made to the police.

For general campaigns, election material is published material such as leaflets, adverts and websites that can reasonably be regarded as intended to influence voters to vote for or against:

  • one or more political parties
  • political parties or candidates that support or do not support particular policies
  • other categories of candidates, for example, candidates who went to a state school, or independent candidates (who are not standing in the name of a political party)

We regulate compliance with the rules for imprints on election material in general campaigns.

There are general rules on election material, and other campaign activity, undertaken by non-party campaigners in the run-up to certain elections that may also apply to you. These rules cover spending limits, donations and reporting. You can read more in our guidance for non-party campaigners

Last updated: 31 October 2023

What must you include?

On printed election material such as leaflets and posters, you must include the name and address of:

  • the printer
  • the promoter
  • any person on behalf of whom the material is being published (and who is not the promoter)

The promoter is whoever has caused the material to be published.

You must use an address where you can be contacted. You can use a home address or an office or business address. You can also use a PO Box address or other mailbox service.

If you are putting an advert in a print newspaper, your advert does not need to include the printer’s name and address, but the name and address of the printer of the newspaper must appear on the first or last page of the newspaper. The advert must include the other details as usual.  

If you are being paid to publish election material, the material must include an imprint which includes the details of whoever is paying you. This is because either they are the promoter, or you are publishing the material on their behalf.

In all cases, you must make sure that the imprint lists all the organisations involved in publishing and promoting the material.

It is an offence for a printer or promoter to publish printed election material without an imprint. 

Last updated: 31 October 2023

Example of an imprint

If you are registered with us as a non-party campaigner, the promoter may be the person notified to us as the ‘responsible person’, or someone authorised by them to incur spending, or the organisation itself. 

A standard imprint should look like this:

Printed by Armadillo Printing Ltd, 20 Barry Avenue, Leeds, LS1 9AB.

Promoted by J Smith on behalf of the Campaign Group, both of 110 High Street, Stafford, ST16 9AA.

Last updated: 12 April 2024

Where do you put the imprint?

If your material is a single-sided printed document – such as a window poster – or where most of the information is on one side, you must put the imprint on that side of the document.

If it is a multi-sided printed document, you must put it on the first or last page.

For the law on where imprints must appear on digital material, please see our statutory guidance on digital imprints.

Last updated: 31 October 2023