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Standing as a Candidate

Candidates and Agents Event

Dover District Council is holding a Candidates and Agents Event for those interested in standing as a candidate in the upcoming UK Parliamentary Election or the Dover District Council By-Election for the Guston, Kingsdown and St Margaret's-at-Cliffe ward.  Further information can be found here.

District Council Elections are held every four years

32 Councillors are elected in 17 Wards

Town and Parish Council Elections are also held every four years. In the Dover District there are 3 Town Councils and 32 Parish Councils. The next elections will be held in May 2023.

Candidates can be nominated through a political party, however individuals can stand in their own right.

  • To become a candidate you must be at least 18 years of age and
  • You must have an entry on the electoral register, or
  • Have lived, worked or owned property in the area for 12 months
  • Or in the case of a Parish Council have lived within 4.8 km of the Parish for the previous 12 months

District Council candidates may be disqualified if they work for the Council or hold a politically restricted post with another local authority. All candidates may be disqualified if they are declared bankrupt or have a previous criminal conviction with a three-month or more prison sentence.

The Nomination Process

No experience is needed to stand for election as a Councillor. To stand as a candidate, a form known as a nomination paper must be submitted. The nomination paper gives details of the candidate's name, address (in full) and political description (if any) that will be used during the campaign. District Council nomination papers have to be attested by a Proposer and Seconder and another 8 people who support the nomination to stand as a candidate. Town and Parish nomination papers have to be attested by a Proposer and Seconder who support the nomination to stand as a candidate.

Everyone signing the nomination paper must be included on the Register of Electors for the Ward in which the election is to be held. If someone signs your nomination paper and they are not included on the relevant Register of Electors, the paper will be declared invalid.

A person wishing to stand as a candidate will be issued with the following:

  • Nomination paper
  • Consent to nomination
  • Appointment of election agent
  • Timetable
  • Candidates' guidance

A candidate who is standing on behalf of a registered political party will also need to submit:

  • Certificate of authorisation
  • Request to use the party emblem

At the close of nominations the candidate will be notified as to whether or not the nomination is valid. If a candidate wishes to withdraw their nomination they have until no later than noon on the 16th working day prior to the date of the election to withdraw.

The law now limits the description candidates can use. For a District Council election, unless a person is standing on behalf of a political party, they may only use the word "Independent" or have no description at all. Candidates cannot submit a nomination paper using a political party description unless they have the political party's permission to do so and a certificate from the party authorising the use of their particular description must be obtained.

Some candidates appoint an agent to assist them and they can be appointed to take responsibility for the management of your campaign. This does not apply to Town/Parish Elections. Candidates can arrange the appointment of other agents at the polling stations and at the count.

Does it cost any money to stand as a candidate?

There is no charge to stand as a candidate in District or Parish elections but there are strict rules on the amount and manner in which expenses are incurred by the candidate and how they are paid. The amount depends on the type of election and there is a limit on how much a candidate can actually spend. Because of these strict rules, a detailed return has to be submitted, showing exactly how much and in what circumstances a candidate has incurred expenditure. Expenses are non-refundable.

Appointment of election agent

At District elections another person can act as an election agent for a candidate. They must complete an appointment of election agent form and that appointed agent must sign a declaration of acceptance. If no such application is received the candidate will be deemed to be acting as their own agent.

The election agent is entitled to attend polling stations, the opening of postal ballot papers, the verification and the count.

The election agent is responsible for all acts involved in carrying out the election on behalf of the candidate and has a duty to ensure the campaign is conducted according to the law. In particular the election agent is responsible for the financial management of the election campaign and for ensuring that the declarations and returns of expenses incurred by and on behalf of the candidate are delivered to the appropriate officer.

More detailed information about standing as a candidate can be found on the Electoral Commission Website


Tel: 01304 872344


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