Guidance for (Acting) Returning Officers administering a UK Parliamentary election in Great Britain

Reproducing commonly used names on election material

The tables below contains a number of worked examples of various combinations of commonly used names and how this would affect the appearance of the candidate’s name on the statement of persons nominated, the notice of poll and the ballot paper.

For elections taking place before 2 May 2024:

Candidate's actual surnameCandidate's other names in fullCommonly used forenamesCommonly used surnameName to go on statement of persons nominatedName to go on ballot papers
ElectorAnnElsieVoterVoter, ElsieVOTER, Elsie
ElectorAnn[Blank]VoterVoter, AnnVOTER, Ann
ElectorAnnElsie[Blank]Elector, ElsieELECTOR, Elsie
Elector-VoterAnn[Blank]VoterVoter, AnnVOTER, Ann

For elections taking place on or after 2 May 2024:

Candidate's actual surnameCandidate's other names in fullCommonly used forenamesCommonly used surnameName to go on statement of persons nominatedName to go on ballot papers
ElectorAnnElsieVoterVoter, ElsieVOTER, Elsie
ElectorAnn[Blank]VoterVoter, AnnVOTER, Ann
ElectorAnnElsie[Blank]Elector, ElsieELECTOR, Elsie
ElectorAnn JaneAnn[Blank]Elector, AnnELECTOR, Ann
ElectorAnn JaneJane[Blank]Elector, JaneELECTOR, Jane
Elector-VoterAnn[Blank]VoterVoter, AnnVOTER, Ann

For elections taking place either before, on or after 2 May 2024, if either the commonly used forenames or commonly used surname box is left blank, then the candidate’s actual forenames or surname, depending on which commonly used name box has been left blank, will go on the statement of persons nominated and on the ballot paper.

You should advise the candidate that the use of commonly used names applies only to the statement of persons nominated and the ballot paper. The candidate’s actual name should appear on any documents that are required to show the candidate’s name, such as the imprint and candidate’s spending returns.  

If you refuse the use of a commonly used name, the validity of the paper remains unaffected. Instead, the effect is that the candidate's full name will appear on the statement of persons nominated and the ballot paper. This should be made clear to candidates and agents and you must write to the candidate setting out the reasons for refusing to allow the use of the commonly used name.

Last updated: 19 December 2023