THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND European Parliamentary Elections in The Electoral Region of Scotland 2014 Briefing for Prospective Candidates and their Agents 25 March 2014 What do you need to know? • • • • • • • • • The election process Roles and Responsibilities Nominations – how to stand Key Dates The campaign Public Awareness Polling Postal Voting The count, local & national THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND European Parliamentary Elections – Key Facts • The Electoral Region of Scotland – 6 MEPs • A single contest – Same ballot paper etc – Consistency across the Region • One vote for either a registered political party or an independent candidate • Run on local authority boundaries, 32 Local Returning Officers, 32 local counts – Added together for a single result for Scotland • Polling 22 May, Count 25 May, Result 26 May THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND An Election: Who can vote? • The register Accessibility Consistency Efficiency Integrity Who do they vote for? • Nominations How do they find out? • Public Awareness Legislation & Governance • • • • How do they vote? How did they vote? Polling Postal Polling Places Other? • Counting the votes • Rules • Electoral Commission • Regional Returning Officer THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Roles and Responsibilities • Regional Returning Officer – Mary Pitcaithly (Chief Exec/RO for Falkirk) • Local Returning Officers – 32 one for each local authority area • Electoral Registration Officers – 15 across Scotland • The Electoral Commission – Guidance, regulation, reporting Interests of the Voter? • Public Awareness • Participation • Registration • Turnout • Understanding the Process • Integrity • Take part & trust the result! • Police Scotland • Candidates, Agents, Campaigners – Your role! THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Nominations • Between 15 April and 24 April – 4pm deadline • At City Chambers, Royal Mile, Edinburgh – Appointments for informal checking • Deposit – £5,000 by electronic transfer (preferred), debit card or banker’s draft (or Building Society cheque) • Nomination Packs THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Nomination Papers • Nomination Pack – Papers plus guidance / information • Papers delivered in person – Nomination Paper, List of Candidates (for parties), authorisations (party and emblem), Consent, Appointment of Agent • Validity • Withdrawal THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Key Dates Event Deadlines Publication of notice of election 14 April Dispatch of Poll cards 14 April - 16 April Nomination Period 15 April – 24 April (4pm deadline) Statement of parties/individual candidates nominated/notice of poll 5pm on Thursday 24 April Dispatch of Postal Votes 30 April - 2 May Applications for registration 6 May Deadline for notification of appointment of sub-agents & polling and counting agents 15 May Opening of Postal Votes POLLING DAY Varies across Electoral Region The Count 25 - 26 May (declarations from 9pm 25 May) Return of individual candidate spending 15 July (within 50 days of result) 22 May THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Public Awareness • Electoral Commission Campaign – – – – – “It’s your vote don’t lose it” Service voter campaign Overseas Voter campaign UK-wide awareness campaign to encourage registration Supporting media work • Local Campaigns – Registration and then turnout – Adverts, radio, press, council offices etc • Role of the Parties and Candidates – We need your help THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Electoral Commission UK Activity • Starts 1 April - “It’s your vote don’t lose it” • Raise awareness of the need to register to vote by 6 May • Updating and reusing existing creative TV ad Bungee and Ballot Box man • Ads will run on TV, VoD, radio and online • Ads highlight if you’re not registered then you cannot vote and direct people to www.aboutmyvote.co.uk website or call centre (0800 3 280 280) for further info or to get a registration form • Supporting media work • Stakeholder resources including a poster and an online banner THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND The Campaign • Campaign Material – Imprints • Posters on lamp posts – Check rules with Local RO • Entitled to copies of the register of electors for electoral purposes (only) • Freepost delivery of election material (refer to Royal Mail) • Use of rooms for the purpose of public meetings • Do’s and Don’ts – Encourage & Help (only!) – Code of Conduct for handling postals THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Appointment of Agents • All parties and individual candidates must appoint an election agent • Election agents can appoint sub agents for part of the region – Appointment made in writing to the RRO by statutory deadlines and RRO issues accreditation to access local and regional events • Postal Vote, Polling Agents and Counting Agents – Appointment to LRO by statutory deadline and LRO issues accreditation for local events only • Number of counting agents set by Local Returning Officer THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Polling • 7am – 10pm • List of polling places, number of stations available from Local RO • Behaviour of tellers – Requirement for secrecy – No aggression / intimidation in campaigning – Obey instructions of Presiding Officer, Returning Officer, Police Scotland – Tellers can only approach electors on the way out of the polling station – Candidates and Agents are responsible for managing the behaviour of their supporters THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Postal Voting • Very important element of the election – 15-20% of electoral roll; 25-50% of counted votes • Confidence in the system depends on integrity of campaigners – Code of Conduct • Must be seen to be fair, no question of interference • Date of Birth and Signature – Forensic Science training • Voter will be notified of rejection within 3 months • Opening Sessions – observers can attend THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Integrity Issues • Seriousness of Electoral Offences – Integrity is fundamental • Police Scotland (SPOC) – Bribery – Treating – Undue Influence – Personation – False Statements • Candidates, Agents and campaigners have critical role to ensure integrity and confidence in the electoral process • All allegations of electoral fraud will be investigated robustly by the Police Scotland in consultation with LRO and RRO THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Police Scotland Support Superintendent Jim Baird National Single Point of Contact on Electoral Matters for Police Scotland 0141 207 5706 [email protected] • Local Divisional SPOCs Inspector for Divisional Coordination Unit THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Police Scotland Guidance • Guidance on Detecting and Preventing Electoral Fraud – Electoral Commission Website – http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/ 108573/Guidance-on-preventing-and-detecting-electoral-fraudScotland-2014.pdf • Police Scotland approach THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Counting THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND The Count – Local • Sunday 25 May – Except for Western Isles • Verification – Including unused and spoilt – Face Down – Report made available to observers • Count – No intimation of results until after 9pm, so most will start 4pm-5pm • Behaviour in Count Hall – Requirement for secrecy – Instructions from Local RO – Mobiles – no photography, no use near tables • Agents have an important role in scrutiny – Represent the elector in the hall – Verify that things are being done correctly – Challenge THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND The Count – the result for Scotland • Result for the Electoral Region of Scotland comprised of 32 Local Results • Regional Returning Officer, based in City Chambers, verifies and authorises local declarations – Candidate and a guest, plus Election Agent, can be present in regional hub • D’hondt method to allocate the 6 seats • Results on websites • Final declaration Monday 26 May – After Western Isles result is intimated THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND What Next? • Consult Electoral Commission Guidance • Keep track of campaign spending • Prepare Nomination Papers – Arrange an informal check – Formally Submit • Campaign! THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Party Campaign Spending • Regulated Period – Begins on 23 January 2014 and ends on 22 May 2014 • Spending limit per region is £45,000 multiplied by the number of MEPs that represent the region – Scotland: 6 MEPs, spending limit of £270,000 • Invoices – You must receive all invoices on or before 23 June 2014 – You must pay all invoices for your campaign spending which have been sent in time not later than 21 July 2014 • The deadline for reporting to the Electoral Commission if you have spent £250,000 or under is 22 August 2014 • The deadline for reporting spending over £250,000 is 22 November 2014 (to the Electoral Commission) THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Key Contacts • Regional Returning Officer’s Staff – – – – Mary Pitcaithly RRO Chris Highcock (Edinburgh DRO and EMB Secretary) Dougie McGregor (Count) Graeme Donaldson (Edinburgh DRO Nominations) • Local Returning Officers / Electoral Registration Officers – Details in Nomination Pack • European Parliament – http://www.elections2014.eu/en THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND THE ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR SCOTLAND Questions?