The Electoral Commission

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

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Local elections in England and Wales

On this page, you will find all of our guidance and resources for Returning Officers administering local government elections taking place in England and Wales, as well as our guidance for Combined Authority Returning Officers administering a combined authority mayoral election in England.

If you want to download emblems for political parties, visit our online database.

Revised data protection legislation applies from 25 May 2018 and will apply to the processing of all personal data. We are in the process of updating our core guidance and resources to reflect the new regulations and will re-publish our guidance and resources as soon as possible. We will confirm in a future EA Bulletin once this work has been completed - in the meantime you should have regard to the guidance provided in the dedicated GDPR resource and contact your local Commission team should you require any further support.

Part B

Planning and organisation

This part covers:

  • Planning (including the identification and training of staff, the selection and booking of venues and management of contractors and suppliers)
  • How to maintain the integrity of the election
  • Raising awareness
  • Access to proceedings by electoral observers and Commission representatives

Part B: Planning and organisation (PDF)

Part C

Administering the poll

This part covers:

  • The nomination period (including access to the register by candidates, spending limits and the nominations process)
  • The production of notices, poll cards and ballot papers
  • Polling station voting

Part C: Administering the poll (PDF)

Click here to view resources for Part C: Administering the poll

Part D

Absent voting

This part covers:

  • The absent voting timetable
  • Proxy voting
  • Preparations for absent voting processes and the production of stationery
  • Procedures for the issue, receipt and opening of postal votes

Part D: Absent voting (PDF)

Part E

Verifying and counting the votes

This part covers:

  • The principles for an effective verification and count
  • Preparations for the count
  • Managing the verification and count
  • Verification and count procedures

Part E: Verifying and counting the votes (PDF)

Part F

After the declaration of result

This part covers:

  • Storage and disposal of documents
  • Post-election activities
  • Challenges to the result
  • Review of election procedures

Part F: After the declaration of result (PDF)

CARO guidance

Guidance for Combined Area Returning Officers administering a combined area Mayoral election in England

This part covers:

  • Combined Area Returning Officer's role, responsibilities and knowledge
  • Our guidance and performance standards for Combined Area Returning Officers

Planning guidance for Combined Area Returning Officers (PDF)

Guidance for Combined Area Returning Officers - Delivery of key processes (PDF)

Click here to view resources for CARO guidance: Guidance for Combined Area Returning Officers administering a combined area Mayoral election in England

Electoral administrator