Guidance for Returning Officers administering Local Government Elections in England

Post election data collection

At scheduled elections, we will request that you send information and data to us relating to the elections.  

Additionally, although you are not required by law, we recommend you collect data in the polling station relating to the delivery of Voter ID. The collection of this data will help us to understand the operation of the voter ID requirement at different types of election. This also represents an opportunity to refine data collection processes ahead of the next UK parliamentary general election at which there will be a statutory data collection requirement.

Forms for collecting information and data, and accompanying guidance notes for completion, as well as a Commission feedback form, will be circulated separately and will also be available on our website.

Statement as to postal ballot papers

You must complete a statement as to postal ballot papers for each electoral area.1

These statements are vital for the accounting of postal votes and for ensuring that voters have confidence that their vote will be counted in the way they intended.

The statements should form part of the arrangements that you have in place to maintain a clear audit trail of the postal voting and count processes.

You should complete the statements accurately using the figures recorded at the issue, receipt, opening and verification of postal votes.

You can find further information on record-keeping during the postal voting process in our guidance on Keeping records of the receipt and opening of postal votes

Where to send the statement as to postal ballot papers

You must provide copies of the completed statements to the Secretary of State and to the Electoral Commission. The statement must not be provided before the tenth calendar day after polling day but must arrive no later than the twenty-fifth calendar day after the polling day.2 If either of these dates is not a working day, the time is extended to the next working day.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities are administering returns on behalf of the Secretary of State, and statements should be sent to [email protected] using a subject title of ‘[authority name] – Form K1 return for the Secretary of State’.

Statements should be sent to the Commission using [email protected]

Separately from the statutory statement as to postal ballots, the Commission collects data on postal voting through our online portal in a single data request alongside other relevant election data, e.g. turnout and rejected ballots. Details for how to provide the data to us will be provided in a Commission EA Bulletin..

You must also provide a copy of the completed statement at the same time and to the same person as you forward the other election documents listed in our guidance: Forwarding or retaining election documents. 

Voter ID data on and after polling day

If you have decided to collect VIDEF information at this election, there are no restrictions on the publication of this data.

You should ensure that the data collected on a VIDEF is anonymised as soon as practicable (for example, by destroying any related VIDEF notes sheets or by removing any elector details recorded on the VIDEF for the purpose of capturing any of the required data) to ensure that no personal data is released. You should also ensure that the relevant privacy notice makes clear that personal data might be processed for this purpose, although no personal identifying data will be published.

We have produced a guidance note for ROs and EROs which outlines the legal requirements for the collation and sharing of data collected in polling stations relating to the operation of the new voter ID requirements. This note aims to support ROs and EROs to make decisions on how and when to share data locally.

Our guidance for EROs also provides further information on data collected in polling stations. 

 

 

Last updated: 26 February 2024