Guidance for Candidates and Agents at UK Parliamentary general elections in Great Britain

Signatures of subscribers

Each nomination form needs to be signed (subscribed) by 10 electors, who are on the parliamentary electoral register in the constituency you are planning to contest.

The first two electors will sign and print their names as proposer and seconder, and the remaining eight as assenters.

The electors must be of voting age by polling day and be on the register that is in force on the last day for publication of notice of election.

Each elector may only subscribe one nomination form at the election.1

If an elector does sign two or more nomination forms, the first nomination form delivered to the (Acting) Returning Officer will be accepted and the rest will be invalid.

You should therefore always enquire, before asking a subscriber to sign your form, if they have already signed someone else's.

If a nomination form contains more than ten subscribers’ signatures, only the first ten will be accepted.2  If any of the first ten subscribers are invalid, the (A)RO must hold the nomination form invalid, regardless of whether the form contains more than ten.3

There is nothing to prevent you from subscribing your own nomination providing that you are registered in the constituency.

There may be some electors on the register who have registered anonymously because of risks to their safety.

Anonymously registered electors may not subscribe nomination forms.

Anonymous electors are shown on the register with just their poll number and the letter 'N' (rather than with their name and address).

Nomination forms should not be altered once they are subscribed. All of your details should be completed before you invite anyone to subscribe your nomination. Once the (A)RO has formally accepted a nomination form, signatures cannot be withdrawn.

The elector number

The elector number of each subscriber, as it appears on the electoral register, must be entered on the nomination form.4  The elector number includes the distinctive numbers or letters of the polling district, which can usually be found at the front of the register.

Both the (A)RO and ERO will be able to advise you how the register is laid out.

You will be entitled to a free copy of the electoral register.5

You should use it to ensure that your nomination form is properly subscribed.

In line with data protection legislation and the electoral provision under which you have obtained the register, you must ensure that you keep the electoral register secure and, once you have finished with it, ensure that it is securely destroyed.

Data protection considerations

When collecting subscriber information, you should point out what the information will be used for and how personal data will be processed and kept secure.  The lawful basis to collect the information in this form is that it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest and exercise of official authority as set out in Representation of the People Act 1983 and associated regulations.

You should also explain that the information will be shared with RO. For further information on data protection and processing you should refer to the RO’s privacy notice on their website.
Data protection legislation applies to the processing of all personal data. Please contact the Information Commissioner’s Office for further information about how the current data protection legislation may affect you as a candidate. 

Last updated: 4 December 2023