Council By-Elections

Council By-elections can be a great opportunity to gain experience, to try out new ideas and to involve new people even when the prospect of winning the ward is remote.

Our policy is that we will always stand a candidate and the Regional team are happy to help you and your local party team on do that. The good news is that isn't a deposit to be found for Council elections.

However the Council does not have a duty to notify when a council vacancy occurs. You may hear of it locally, or you may see the notice posted outside the Council Offices - that's the only legal requirement. The timetable can move quite quickly and we don't want to lose our chance to give voters the chance to vote Liberal Democrat.  So please follow these steps

  • One of your team - usually the person who acts as Agent and/or deals with data requests such as lists of postal voters - should make contact with the Electoral Registration office in your local Council. Ask to be notified of any by-elections that occur. Ensure they have current contact details for you and maintain a good relationship with them and learn how they operate. Remember we have few legal rights so co-operative approaches yield best results.
  • When you hear of a vacancy, even if you've received news that's not yet public, ensure your key team members know and also copy to [email protected].  
  • If the vacancy occurs as a result of a death, we don't carry out any public campaigning until the funeral has taken place. However DON'T delay telling your key activists and the Region.  Time planning how to respond is not disrespectful.
  • It's sensible to urgently hold a meeting of key people. You don't need to wait for a meeting of your executive to talk about the by-election - it requires urgent action and the Chair (or Vice Chair) is perfectly entitled to make decisions in such circumstances.
  • Report the vacancy to ALDC
  • Get the timetable for the election from the Council's Electoral Registration office and plan to get nominations in early enough so that if there are any queries there is time enough to resolve them.
  • It is wise to have a formal selection procedure for your candidate. The Region can give advice on this.
  • If you or others in your local party have membership of ALDC (if not, seriously consider joining!), look up their by-election support materials.

Remember that time doesn't stop so the important thing is to make sure people - including the Region and ALDC - know very quickly. Urgent action is what's needed.

Remember: email [email protected] straight away whenever a council vacancy occurs.  It's also very useful for us to be be told - in confidence if appropriate - where a contest may arise in the future.

Pete Dollimore
London Campaigns Chair
August 15th 2016
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