Candidates and agents briefing

Nominations have now closed.

For the borough and parish elections on Thursday 4 May 2023.


  • who’s who
  • key dates of the election timetable
  • qualifications
  • disqualifications
  • nominations
  • agents
  • postal votes
  • voter ID
  • the poll
  • counting of votes
  • candidate spending
  • contacts

We also have a Voter ID and Polling Day Accessibility Members Briefing video which can be found on YouTube.

Who’s who

Returning Officer

The person responsible for running the elections.

The Returning Officer is Angela Woodhouse

Electoral Registration Officer (ERO)

The person for maintaining the register of electors and absent voters’ lists.

The Electoral Registration Officer is Angela Woodhouse.

Key election team contacts

  • Ryan O’Connell – Democratic and Electoral Services Manager (DRO and DERO) AEA Cert.
  • Kathy Hildige – Principal Electoral Services Officer AEA Cert.
  • Claire Ocsko – Senior Electoral Services Officer AEA Cert.




Publication of Notice of Election

20 March 2023

Nominations commence

21 March 2023

Close of nominations

4pm – 4 April 2023

Notification of appointment of election agents

4pm – 4 April 2023

Publication of statement of persons nominated

4pm – 5 April 2023

Deadline for applications to register to vote

Midnight – 17 April 2023

Deadline for new postal vote applications /changes to existing postal or proxy vote applications

5pm – 18 April 2023

Publication of notice of poll/situation of polling stations

25 April 2023

Deadline for applications for new proxy votes

5pm – 25 April 2023

Deadline for applications for a Voter Authority Certificate or Anonymous Elector’s Document

5pm – 25 April 2023

Appointment of counting and polling agents

26 April 2023

Polling day

4 May 2023 – 7am to 10pm

Deadline to apply to vote by emergency proxy

5pm – polling day

Replacement for lost/spoilt postal votes ends

5pm – polling day

Alterations to register to correct clerical error

9pm – polling day

Return of election expenses

+35 days from result


Both on the day they're nominated and on polling day candidates must be:

  • at least 18 years of age
  • a British, qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or national of an EU member state

And 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 the local authority area during the last 12 months


A person cannot be a candidate if they:

  • are employed by the local authority or hold a paid office under the authority (including joint boards or committees). Candidates may be ‘employed by the local authority’ if they work at certain schools, fire services, police or health services
  • are subject of a Bankruptcy Restrictions Order (or interim restrictions order)
  • have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more (including a suspended sentence) without option of a fine, during the 5 years before polling day
  • are serving a disqualification due to being found guilty of a corrupt or illegal practice by an election court
  • hold a politically restricted post
  • are subject to the notification requirement of or under Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003

Submitting nomination papers

The documents that must be submitted by all candidates by 4pm on Tuesday 4 April 2023 are:

  • the nomination form
  • their home address form
  • the consent to nomination

Party candidates will also need to submit by 4pm on Tuesday 4 April 2023 a:

  • certificate authorising the use of a party name/ registered description on the ballot paper
  • written request to use one of the party’s emblems on the ballot paper (optional)

Take care when completing your nomination papers, as mistakes may invalidate your nomination. Complete nomination papers early and arrange for us to provide an informal check.

The nomination form, home address form and consent to nomination must be delivered by hand and cannot be submitted by post, fax, email or other electronic means

Nomination form

  • include your full name
  • optional: use commonly used name box(es) if commonly known by a name other than actual name and wish to use it instead. But you cannot use your first name as a commonly used name to exclude your middle name
  • description field – three options:
    • leave blank
    • independent
    • party candidates can use party name or description authorised by a certificate issued by or on behalf of the Nominating Officer
  • subscribers: two subscribers are required
  • must sign and print their names. Check details of subscribers against electoral register
  • only ask subscribers to sign after completing the name, address and description fields on the form
  • data protection requirements

Home address form

Part 1 of the home address form must state:

  • your full name and home address in full
  • qualifying address, or, where you have declared on your consent to nomination that you meet more than one qualification, your qualifying addresses
  • which of the qualifications qualifying address or addresses relate to (a, b, c and/or d)
  • the full name and the home address in full of the witness to your consent to nomination

Part 2 of the home address form must be completed if you do not want your address to be made public:

  • the name of the relevant area in which your home address is situated (if your home address is in the UK)
  • if you live outside the UK, the name of the country in which your home address is situated.

Certificate of authorisation

Party candidates must have written permission to use the party name/description from the Nominating Officer (or a person authorised to act on their behalf)

The certificate may:

  • allow the use of the party name or a particular description
  • allow candidate to choose whether to use the party name or any of the descriptions registered with the Electoral Commission

Must be submitted by 4pm on Tuesday 4 April 2023

Emblem request form

  • party candidates can ask for an emblem to be printed on the ballot paper
  • emblem request form must be submitted by 4pm on Tuesday 4 April 2023
  • party candidates should supply an electronic version of the emblem to the Returning Officer if required

Joint candidates

  • nominated by more than one party
  • may use registered joint descriptions
    • must be supported by certificate of authorisation from each party
  • may use one emblem of one of the parties but there are no joint party emblems

Election agent

  • responsible for the proper management of your election campaign; particularly its financial management
  • notification of appointment must reach the RO by 4pm on Tuesday 4 April 2023. Form is included in nomination pack
  • 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:

  • you must give notice in writing of any people appointed as polling and counting agents by Wednesday 26 April 2023
  • the appointment of postal voting agents attending a particular opening session must be made before the start of the session. We will give 48 hours notice

Access to electoral register/absent voting lists

Access by candidates – once you officially become a candidate:

  • on Monday 27 March 2023 if you, or others declared yourself a candidate
  • or after that date once you have declared yourself a candidate/date you submit your nomination papers

Make written request to the ERO – forms are available from the office/are included in your nomination pack

If you have an issue between date of notice and Monday 27 March 2023 contact the office who will assist within the law.

Only use data for permitted purposes to:

  • complete the nomination form
  • help you campaign
  • check that donations/loans are permissible


  • as a candidate you are uniquely placed to encourage people to register to vote
  • you should encourage people to register as soon as possible.
  • the deadline for applying for the election is Monday 17 April 2023
  • Individuals can apply to register online on GOV.UK. It only takes a few minutes.
  • when discussing registering to vote with individuals, you will need to make them aware that they will need to provide:
    • their National Insurance number
    • date of birth and address
  • People who do not have/cannot retrieve their National Insurance number can still register, but they may need to provide further information. If so, they will be contacted by the ERO.

Absent voting

  • when talking to electors about voting by post or proxy, you should make them aware of the relevant deadlines and advise them to apply early
  • If you are encouraging people who don’t have a postal (or proxy) vote to apply for one, make sure you explain that they will only qualify for one in time for the elections if they are (or will be) registered in time to vote at the elections

Voter identification

  • voters in this election will need to provide a form of accepted photographic ID if they wish to vote in person at a polling station
  • voters will be able to present out of date photographic ID so long as the photograph is still a good likeness
  • if a voter fails to present a form of accepted photographic ID they will not be issued with a ballot paper
  • this includes those who act as a proxy for another person

Accepted forms of ID

  • voters should be encouraged to check whether they have one of the forms of accepted photographic ID well in advance of the election
  • if a voter does not have an accepted form of photographic ID, they can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate either online on GOV.UK or using a paper application form.
  • electors who are registered anonymously must have an Elector’s Document to vote in person
  • any applications must be received by the ERO by 5pm on the 6th working day before poll (Tuesday 25 April 2023)

International travel

  • passport (issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country)
  • irish passport card

Driving and parking

  • driving licence (issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state)
  • a blue badge

Local travel

  • older person’s bus pass
  • disabled person’s bus pass
  • Oyster 60+ card
  • freedom pass
  • Scottish national entitlement card
  • 60 and over Welsh concessionary travel card
  • disabled person’s Welsh concessionary travel card
  • senior SmartPass issued in NI
  • registered blind SmartPass or blind person’s SmartPass issued in NI
  • War Disablement SmartPass issued in NI
  • 60+ SmartPass issued in NI
  • half fare SmartPass issued in NI

Proof of age

  • identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)

Other government issued documents

  • Biometric immigration document
  • Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identify Card)
  • Nationality identity card issued by an EEA state
  • Electoral Identity Card issued in Northern Ireland
  • Voter Authority Certificate
  • Anonymous Elector’s Document


  • do use imprints on all your campaign material, including websites
  • do comply with planning rules relating to advertising hoardings and large banners
  • do make sure outdoor posters are removed 2 weeks after the election
  • 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)

Code of conduct for campaigners

Campaigners are an essential element of a healthy democracy, but their activities should not bring into question the integrity of the electoral process.

Electoral registration and absent vote applications:

  • ensure forms fully conform to the requirements of electoral law
  • include the ERO’s address for the return of forms
  • ensure unaltered applications are sent to ERO within two working days
  • make sure electors understand implications of applying for an absent vote
  • do not encourage postal ballot pack redirection
  • do not encourage electors to appoint a campaigner as proxy

Voter Authority Certificate Applications:

  • should not handle paper based Voter Authority Certificate applications and should encourage electors to send them directly to the ERO

Postal ballot packs:

  • never touch a postal ballot paper
  • never observe electors completing their postal vote
  • never handle or take any completed ballot paper or postal ballot pack from voters

Campaigning outside polling stations:

  • you are allowed to put your messages to voters on polling day, including public spaces outside polling places
  • keep access to polling places and the pavements around polling places clear to allow voters to enter

Polling day

  • polling stations open from 7am to 10pm
  • office open 7am to 10pm for queries or problems relating to the administration of the election –for queries relating to election finance issues, contact the Electoral Commission (contact details shown later)
  • voters in the polling station or in a queue outside the polling station at 10pm can apply for a ballot paper
  • voters in this election will need to present photographic ID in the polling station
  • postal votes – can be handed into polling stations within the relevant ward or delivered to the elections office until 10pm
  • a person in a queue at a polling station at 10pm waiting to hand in a postal vote can do so after 10pm

Counting of votes

The count will be held at:

Kent Showground
ME14 3JF

Count centre will open to candidates agents from:

  • 9.30pm - Thursday 4 May 2023 – this will be for receiving the boxes only no counting will take place
  • 9am - Friday 5 May 2023 – access to the count.

Candidates, election agents, counting agents and one other person appointed by the candidate are entitled to attend.

Limits to counting agents will be calculated based on the number of candidates and counters and confirmed after the close of nominations, and guests will be at the Returning Officer’s discretion.

Spending Issues

Candidate spending

  • defined as certain expenses ‘used for the purposes of the candidate’s election’ during the regulated period
  • responsibility of election agent
  • limit on expenses:
    • £806 + 7 pence per elector in ward/division on register in force on Monday 27 March 2023
    • reduced for joint candidates
  • must get and keep receipts (over £20)

Candidates’ spending returns

  • returns due 35 calendar days after result of election
  • returns made public by Returning Officer
  • sample of returns may be reviewed by the Electoral Commission
  • failure to submit a spending return is a criminal offence enforceable by police
  • no spending will be reimbursed


Elections office


Phone: 01622 602007

Highways department

Phone: 03000 414141

Electoral Commission contacts

Phone: 0333 103 1928