West Lothian Council By-Election – 26 March 2015 Armadale & Blackridge Ward Candidates Briefing 12 February 2015 Covering • • • • • • • Who’s who Timetable Qualifications Disqualifications Nominations Agents Postal votes • Day of poll • Single Transferable Vote • Counting of votes • Campaign spending • Contacts Who’s Who • The Returning Officer is the person responsible for running the election. The Returning Officer is Graham Hope . • The Electoral Registration Officer is responsible for maintaining the register of electors and absent voters’ lists. The Electoral Registration Officer is Joan Hewton, Lothian’s ERO. • Election Team • Electoral Commission has a responsibility for issuing guidance to candidates and agents – available at http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/candidateor-agent/local-council-elections-in-scotland Timetable Event Working days before poll (deadline if not midnight) Date (Poll Day 26 March) First day to publish notice of election Not earlier than 35 days Not earlier than Thursday 5 February 2015 Last day to publish notice of election Not later than 28 days Not later than Monday 16 February 2015 Until 4pm each working day until the deadline for the delivery of nomination papers Delivery of nomination papers From the day after the publication of the notice of election Deadline for the delivery of nomination papers 23 days (4pm) 4pm on Monday 23 February 2015 Deadline for withdrawals of nomination Deadline for the notification of appointment of election agents 23 days (4pm) 4pm on Monday 23 February 2015 23 days (4pm) 4pm on Monday 23 February 2015 Publication of notice of poll As soon as practicable after the deadline for withdrawals As soon as practicable after 4pm on Monday 23 February 2015 First time nomination papers are open to public inspection During office hours from 24 hours after the deadline for delivery of nomination papers From 4pm on Tuesday 24 February 2015 (during office hours) Registration deadline 12 days Midnight on Tuesday 10 March 2015 Timetable Event Deadline for new postal vote applications and for changes to existing postal or proxy votes Deadline for new applications to vote by proxy (not postal proxy), except for medical emergencies Deadline for notification of appointment of polling and counting agents First date that electors can apply for replacements for lost postal votes Last time nomination papers are open for public inspection POLLING DAY Last time for re-issue of spoilt and lost postal votes Deadline for emergency proxy applications Last time to alter the register due to clerical error or court appeal Last day to submit election spending returns Working days before poll (deadline if not midnight) 11 days (5pm) Date (Poll Day 26 March) 6 days (5pm) 5pm on Wednesday 18 March 2015 5 days Thursday 19 March 2015 4 days Friday 20 March 2015 1 day 0 (5pm) End of office hours on Wednesday 25 March 2015 7am to 10pm on Thursday 26 March 2015 5pm on Thursday 26 March 2015 0 (5pm) 5pm on Thursday 26 March 2015 0 (9pm) 9pm on Thursday 26 March 2015 35 calendar days after the result is declared Friday 1 May 2015 (if result declared on Friday 27 March 2015) 0 (7am to 10pm) 5pm on Wednesday 11 March 2015 Can you stand? • Candidates must satisfy criteria on day they are nominated: – At least 18 years of age, and – British, qualifying Commonwealth (with indefinite leave to remain), EU member state citizen • Also at least one of the following: – Registered local government elector for local authority area – Occupied as owner or tenant any land or premises in the local authority area during the whole 12 months preceding nomination – Principal or only place of work (including unpaid) during last 12 months in local authority area – Lived in local authority area for the previous 12 months. Disqualifications • A person cannot be a candidate if they: – received a severance payment under the Local Governance – – – – – (Scotland) Act 2004 hold a politically restricted post have had their estate sequestrated by a court in Scotland, been adjudged bankrupt by a court elsewhere, or are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 3 months or more (inc. suspended sentence) without option of a fine, during the 5 years before day of nomination or election have been disqualified by a decision of the Accounts Commission or the Standards Commission are serving a disqualification due to being found guilty of a corrupt or illegal practice by an election court Nominations • Please submit as early as possible – make an appointment • Nomination forms must be submitted by all candidates by 4pm – 23 February 2015 • Party candidates will also need to submit: – a certificate authorising the use of a party name/ registered description on the ballot paper – a written request to use one of the party’s emblems on the ballot paper (optional) by 4pm – 23 February 2015 • Check and double check Nomination Form • Electoral Commission guidance • Include your full name & home address • Optional: commonly used name box(es) if commonly known by a name other than full name and wish to use it instead • Description field – 3 options • Qualification(s) – complete all that apply • Sign it • Witness to provide name, address and signature Election Agent • Responsible for the proper management of your election campaign; particularly its financial management. • Notification of appointment must reach the Returning Officer by 4pm – 23 February 2015. • Form is included in nomination pack. • Office of election agent must be in West Lothian, or in either of Livingston or Linlithgow & East Falkirk constituencies • You will become your own agent by default if none is appointed. Other Agents • Other agents can be appointed to attend postal vote openings, polling stations and the count on your behalf: – The RO requires notice in writing of any people appointed as polling and counting agents by 19 March. – The appointment of postal voting agents attending a particular opening session must be made before the start of the session. The RO will give at least 48 hours’ notice. – Forms are available for notifying the RO. Campaigning • Use imprints on all your campaign material, including websites. • Comply with planning rules relating to advertising hoardings and large banners. • Make sure you comply with council policy • Do not produce material that looks like a poll card. • Do not pay people to display your adverts (unless they display adverts as part of their normal business). Electoral Register & AV List • Access by candidates – once you officially become a candidate: – earliest, on 16 February [last date for publication of notice of election] if you, or others declared yourself a candidate; or – once you or others have declared yourself a candidate after this date or date you submit your nomination papers, whichever is earliest • Make written request to the ERO – forms are included in your nomination pack. • Only use data for electoral purposes including to help you campaign Polling Places • No change to polling places • 11 polling stations - in the nomination pack Postal Voting • Impact of Individual Elector Registration • Direct voters to ERO if they want to apply for a postal vote • Familiarise yourself with the Electoral Commission’s Code of Conduct for Campaigners • Openings from Monday 23rd • Appointment of postal vote agents • Secrecy requirement Polling Day • Polling stations open from 7am to 10pm • Election Office open 6.15am to 10.30pm for queries or problems relating to the administration of the election – any queries relating to election spending issues, contact the Electoral Commission (contact details shown later) – Electoral registration queries direct to the Electoral Registration Office • Campaigning, tellers and rosettes & badges • Postal votes – can be handed into polling stations within the ward or delivered to the elections office until 10pm. Single Transferable Vote • Voters will rank candidates in their order of preference using numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc). • Voters can rank as many or as few candidates as they wish. • The same number cannot be used twice and there should not be a break in the sequence. • Manual count The Count • Next day (9am) in Space 3 at Howden Park Centre • Candidates, election agents, counting agents and one guest per candidate are entitled to attend • Limit to number of counting agents: two per candidate The Count Procedure • Verification – counting ballot papers cast and turnout • The quota – threshold winning candidate should reach • Counting of votes for each candidate • Exclusion of candidates – where no one reaches quota • Transfer(s) of excluded candidates’ votes The Quota • Candidate is elected if they reach the quota. • Quota calculated by: total number of valid votes ------------------------------------------------------ + 1 (number of members to be elected + 1) • Fractions are ignored. e.g. 5,021 valid votes, 1 to elect quota = (5,021 / (1+1)) = 2510.5 ignore remainder +1 = 2511 Exclusion of Candidates If no candidate reaches the quota • The candidate with the lowest number of votes is excluded • The ballot papers from the excluded candidate are allocated to the next available preference • Transfer value for each ballot paper from excluded candidates will always be 1, as no parts of the votes cast for that candidate will have yet been used to elect a candidate. Process Count the first preferences for each candidate and adjudicate doubtful ballots Has any candidate reached the Quota Candidate is elected Yes No Eliminate candidate with lowest vote and redistribute to next available preferences Local Government By-Election Ward 6 – Elgin City North Thursday 11 December 2014 Total Electorate 9,263 Total Votes Cast 1938 Percentage Poll 21% Rejected as Void 20 Total Valid Votes 1918 960 Quota Stage Stage 1 Exclusion of Candidate Party First Pref. Total Electorate Sandy COOPER Ind Percentage 472 Poll Morvern FORREST Green Craig GRAHAM Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 FORREST URQUHART GRIFFITHS GRAHAM Ballots Total Transf. 9,263 1121% 483 Ballots Transf. Total Total Votes Cast 16 as Void 499 Rejected Total Valid Votes Ballots Transf. 1938 2096 1918 960 77 -77 Lab 287 18 305 11 316 52 Alex GRIFFITHS Con 273 7 280 19 299 -299 Kirsty Ella REID SNP 728 20 748 16 764 9 Ramsay URQUHART UKIP 81 3 84 -84 TOTAL Ballots Transf. Total 595 98 693 368 -368 773 77 850 18 40 182 375 20 20 20 20 20 1938 1938 1938 1938 1938 Non-transferable Rejected Quota Total Recounts • Candidates or their election agents can request a recount • But RO can refuse if he considers it unreasonable • Closeness of result will not be regarded as justifying a recount • Candidates and agents are asked to observe each stage closely and raise any concerns stage by stage Candidates Spending • Electoral Commission guidance • Defined as certain expenditure ‘used for the purposes of the candidate’s election’ after the date they become a candidate • Responsibility of election agent • Spending limits - £705 + 6 pence per elector in ward on register in force on 16 February – reduced for joint candidates • Must get and keep receipts (over £20) Candidates Spending Returns • Returns due 35 days after result of election • Returns made public by Returning Officer • Failure to submit a campaign spending return is an offence • Successful candidate who fails to submit returns in time may not sit or vote in the council until return made Contacts • Elections Office – [email protected] – 01506 282035 • Electoral Registration Office – – 0131 344 2500 – [email protected] • Electoral Commission – Scotland Office - 0131 225 0200 – [email protected] Any Questions ?