Overview of commenting on an application
You can comment on a particular name, description or emblem as part of our assessment process. You must say whether the name, description or emblem does or does not meet the criteria for registration and the reasons why.
When you make your comment, you need to consider the criteria for registration. If you do not refer to one or more of them in your comment, we will not consider it.
Criteria for registering a party name, descriptions or emblems
We cannot register a name, description or emblem which:
- is likely to mislead voters
- is the same as another registered name, description or emblem which is on the same register
- is the same as a name, description or emblem from a de-registered party which was on the same register and is protected
- voters might confuse with another party name, description or emblem that is already registered or protected
- is likely to contradict or hinder voting instructions or guidance given for voting
- is obscene or offensive
- contains certain prohibited words
- is or contains an acronym or abbreviation that is not well known or widely used and not spelt out
- links in any way to online material or refers to online content
- contains a reference to a person’s name unless it is a person directly associated with your party
- has an emblem that contains text which cannot be read at the size emblems appear on ballot papers (2cm square)
- is longer than six words
- is not in Roman script (i.e. Latin alphabet)
- is likely to amount to an offence if published
What we mean by mislead voters
We look at whether a name, description or emblem might cause a voter to either vote in a way they did not intend (for example, for a party other than their preferred party) or to mark their ballot paper in a way which was not their intention.
We will reject a name, description or emblem if we believe a voter might make a mistake on their ballot paper which would invalidate their vote, for example voting for too many candidates.
What we mean by confuse
We look at whether the name, description or emblem is visually the same, (for example the words ‘stationary’ or ‘stationery’, similar images of boats or design elements) or contextually the same (for example ‘Party of the Oak’ and ‘The Oak Party’).
What we mean by offensive
We assess all applications on a case by case basis, but we are likely to reject a name, description or emblem on grounds of offensiveness if, in our opinion, it:
- contains offensive language or terminology
- links something generally accepted to be offensive with a particular group of people
We take into account that parties must be able to express their political views and a voter must use a ballot paper in order to exercise their right to vote. We also consider the context and circumstances in which a name, description or emblem can be used.
What we mean by prohibited words
Applies to words in singular, plural and in other languages.
1. Her Majesty, His Majesty, King, Queen, Prince, Princess, Duke, Duchess, Royal, Royalty.
These words cannot be used on their own. You can use these in conjunction with the name of a place, institution or local government area. For example, you can use ‘Royal Tunbridge Wells’ but not ‘Royal Forever Party’.
2. Britain, British, England, English, National, Scotland, Scots, Scottish, United Kingdom, Wales, Welsh, Gibraltar, Gibraltarian, Combined region.
These words cannot be used on their own. You can use these with another word or expression other than the name or description of a party already registered in the relevant part of the UK. For example you cannot register ‘English One Big Party’ if there was an already registered ‘One Big Party’.
3. Independent, Official, Unofficial.
These words cannot be used on their own. You can use these if the word is used with another word or expression but not:
- an existing registered name or description or
- only with the word ‘Party’ (for example ‘The Independent Party’) or
- another of these words in this group.
4. Ratepayers, Residents, Tenants.
These words cannot be used on their own. You can use these in conjunction with the name of a local government or geographical area. For example, you can use ‘Residents of York Party’ but not ‘Residents Action Group’.
Submitting your feedback
You can comment on one of our current applications. Our assessment process can have a quick completion time so you need to comment promptly.
You can submit your comment by:
- email at email@example.com
- our online feedback form
- post to Party Registration, The Electoral Commission, 3 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8YZ
- fax on 020 7271 0505
If you have made a comment, you can see the outcome of the application on Party registration decisions.
- Political party
- Registering a party