All change, again!
Another set of electoral law and compliance changes are coming in. For Halloween, we have changes in postal votes. For the 1st of November, we have new rules on imprints for digital communications. As a spoiler alert, there are further changes due at Christmas or shortly in the New Year, including changes to expenses limits.
Postal and Proxy Votes
There are a number of changes to postal and proxy votes, applicable to all elections in England and General and PCC elections in Wales and General Elections in Scotland.
Please destroy all stocks of old postal vote forms as these are no longer valid. If you take in a filled in old form, it will be rejected.
Postal voters must now prove their identity, either by providing their National Insurance number or using some other form of identification. However, voters can now apply for a postal vote online:
There are new forms for postal voters, with different forms for England, Scotland and Wales. Postal votes for all English elections, General and PCC elections in Wales, and General Elections in Scotland will now only be valid for three years. In other devolved elections the current rules apply.
Proxy voters will now only be able to have a proxy vote for two other people, whether they are related or not. Note: we recommend that candidates and agents never hold proxy votes.
- Destroy old forms
- Plan to regularly run re-apply campaigns amongst LD supporting postal voters
- Try adding email sign up for postal voters, using the online link
From 2nd May 2024, we will not be allowed to touch completed postal votes under any circumstances, nor can we hand them in at a polling station.
From today, 1st November, new rules on using imprints on digital material apply. These are applicable across the UK but please note the wider rules in Scotland still apply.
Kerry Buist, the party’s Head of Compliance, has produced detailed guidance here.
Paid digital advertisements must now ALWAYS carry an imprint. Organic (non paid for material) requires it during an election period.
For the statutory guidance from the Electoral Commission, please see here.
Fleet websites and Integrated Mailer automatically include imprints. On other platforms, you will need to make sure they are there and visible. Please see the guide. On Facebook, it is no longer enough to use the impressium section. You need to make sure the imprint is in the Bio section. Even if we are not currently in an election period, we recommend that you put an imprint up on your social media sites.
For videos you will need to have an end page showing the imprint for long enough for people to read it. On graphics, you will need to include a visible and readable imprint within the graphic.
Imprints must state who the promoter is and who the material is being published on behalf of. You need a postal address as well, for instance:
Promoted by J. Blogs on behalf of B. Smith (Liberal Democrats), both at 15 High Street, Anytown, Anyshire, XX15 5XX
If it is promoted by an organisation, it does not need the words on behalf of:
Promoted by Liberal Democrats, 1 Vincent Square, SW1P 2PN
- Ensure you set up a correct imprint on all you digital platforms.
- Make sure that whoever does paid adverts for the local party understands the rules.
- Key people read Compliance’s guidance