To formally become a candidate in a local election, once the election has been called, you will need to submit the signatures of Proposer and a Seconder (for All Elections) on your Nomination Form.
For elections to District Level Authorities and above, you will also be required to submit the signatures of a further eight people (Signatories) who support your Nomination as a Candidate.
All of these signatures MUST come from residents who live within the Ward or Division in which you are seeking election, who in turn MUST themselves be recorded and eligible to vote on the Electoral Roll for that same area.
It is a really good idea to work out who you are going to ask to be your Proposer, your Seconder and your other Signatories as early as you possibly can.
In all cases, you must make your Proposers, Seconders and Signatories aware that their name will be noted as a public record, and be published as part of the Formal Notice of Candidates, which will be circulated locally within the Ward or Division once the Nomination window has closed and all Candidates for the Election in that area have been recognised.
If they are unhappy with being publicly recognised for their support of your candidacy, you should not use their signatures. In no circumstances should you use any signature without them being aware of what it has been used for.
Things to consider:
It’s really easy to make a mistake on Nomination Papers. Not in the sense of what information you give generally, but by using a Proposer, Seconder or Signatory who isn’t eligible to support you. If this happens and you submit your Nomination Papers, the Democratic Services Department will reject your Nomination and you will have to start all over again – and when I say start all over again, that means going back to all of your Signatories and getting them to sign again, because you cannot make changes to your Nomination Form!
The best way to make sure you remove as much risk of a problem as possible are as follows:
- Check with your Proposer, Seconder and Signatories that they are ALL happy to support you, and have their name recognised in the public domain.
- Check that your Proposer, Seconder and Signatories are ALL eligible voters and that present on the Electoral Roll for the Ward or Division where you will be seeking election.
- If possible, have two different sets of Signatories. Yes, that’s 2x Proposers, 2x Seconders, 16x normal Signatories and complete 2 separate Nomination Forms. (Check with your Democratic or Electoral Services Department if they will allow you to make copies. Otherwise, make sure you get yourself a duplicate set of Candidate Forms)
- Get ALL of your signatures as early as possible during the Formal Campaign.
- Submit your completed Candidate Forms to your Democratic Services Department as early as possible – just in case you need to correct a mistake! (You will normally be given a schedule of dates with the Candidate Pack and from this will be able to find out when the Democratic Services Department will be making appointments to receive Candidate submissions. Get an appointment as early as possible!)
And the don’ts…
- DO NOT simply accept a Proposer’s, Seconder’s or Signatories word that they are on the Electoral Roll without checking that they are. (Some people are unaware that they are not Registered. Others never got around to Register. A few may have even lost their Registration without being aware. It doesn’t matter why they aren’t there; you need signatures from people who are OR YOUR CANDIDACY WILL NOT BE VALID!!!)