Making it easier to stand for election

We have published today a number of recommendations to update the rules around standing for election and how to make them clearer and fairer, including getting rid of the current system of deposits.

The report – ‘Standing for election in the UK’ – gives the Commission’s views of the issues facing candidates wanting to stand for election in the UK, including reporting on the responses we received to a consultation paper we published in September 2013.

Around 100 organisations and individuals responded to our consultation paper and that input has been important in stimulating debate about what improvements can be made to strengthen the system. Those who responded included elected representatives, political parties, electoral administrators and candidates who have stood for election and we are grateful for their contribution to our thinking.

The report highlights out of date practices such as only being able to submit nomination papers in person, and not being able to send them electronically. It also finds that there remains some confusion and inconsistency about what disqualifies someone for standing for election and includes proposals for addressing this.

The current rules on standing for election are complex, out-of-date and difficult for candidates to navigate. We’ve listened to a wide range of views and our recommendations will, we hope, make it easier for candidates to stand for election in the future, whilst maintaining trust and confidence in the system.

Some of the changes we recommend to modernise the rules involve complex areas of electoral law and will require legislative change, so policy makers in the relevant governments will need to consider these issues carefully and we look forward to working with the them to take forward the issues we have raised in this report.

We have also shared our report with the UK Law Commissions for them to consider as part of their important consultation seeking views on potential reforms that will modernise and rationalise electoral law.

Ann Watt
Head of Office Northern Ireland

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