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.

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Latest updates

  • Update to nomination packs and guidance

    16-01-2019

    Legislation removing the requirement for candidates to have their home address published on the ballot paper and statement of persons nominated at principal area elections and parish council elections has now been made and will apply for all principal area and parish council elections held in England on or after 2 May 2019.

    We are currently updating our guidance for Returning Officers and candidates and agents to reflect the above legislation. We are also updating those resources that are affected by the legislation, such as nomination packs and notices. The updated nomination packs will be published by Friday 18/1/19. We will publish the remaining guidance and resources on a rolling basis and will complete this by the end of January. We will confirm via a future Bulletin once this work has been completed.

    The Statutory Instruments that will remove the requirement for candidates standing at Combined Authority Mayoral and local mayoral elections have been laid in the UK Parliament, but still need to be approved. Once they have been approved we will publish the updated guidance and resources for those polls, and will confirm in a future Bulletin when this has been completed.

    If you have a by-election which takes place prior to 2 May 2019 and require nomination packs please contact your local Commission team.

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