Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Logo (with tagline Ag Obair Còmhla Airson nan Eilean)
Banner image with text to remind the public that they need to bring photo identification to vote in person in the UK General Election on Thursday the 4th of July 2024

Information for Candidates and Agents

Guidance for Candidates

Spending and Donations

Candidates and their agents at council elections must follow certain rules about how much they can spend, who they can accept donations from, and what they must report after the election.

The spending and donation rules apply during the time known as the “regulated period”.  The regulated period for the by-election begins on the day after the date you officially become a candidate and ends on polling day, 4 July 2024. 

How much can you spend?

The spending limit for the regulated period is £806, plus 7p per local government elector in the ward registered to vote on the last day for publication of the notice of election which is 24 May 2024.   

The amount candidates can spend is detailed below. 

Ward No of Entries in Register Amount per Entry in RegisterPlus lump 
Total Expenses Limit 
Na Hearadh 15027p£860£965.14
How much Candidates can spend

Guidance Overview  

The Electoral Commission have produced guidance for candidates and agents at local elections in Scotland. The guidance details the main steps in relation to standing as a candidate and the election campaign. It includes relevant materials as well as a guide to further resources.

Attendance at Key Electoral Events

Postal Vote Opening Sessions

You and your election agent or a person appointed by you to attend in your election agent’s place are entitled to attend the opening of returned postal votes, you can also appoint agents to attend openings on your behalf.

A postal voting agent is allowed at attend and observe postal vote opening sessions, which are run by the Returning Officer.  A postal voting agent has a right to observe, but not to interfere with, this process.  A postal voting agent can, however, object to the decision of a Returning Officer to reject a postal vote. 

It is likely that several opening sessions will take place before polling day, as well as on polling day itself.  The Returning Officer must give you at least 48 hours’ notice of when and where the sessions will take place.  They will also set out how many postal voting agents will be allowed to attend each session.

Polling Stations

You and your election agent are entitled to observe proceedings inside polling stations, you can also appoint agents to attend polling stations on your behalf.

Polling Stations will be open on polling day between 7am and 10pm. 

Most people choose to vote in person at their polling station.  Electors will receive a poll card before the election telling them where and when they can vote.  Electors do not need to take their poll card to the polling station in order to vote.

Anyone attending a polling station has a duty to maintain the secrecy of the ballot.  They must also not try to ascertain how a voter has voted or who they are about to vote for.  Any person found guilty of breaching the secrecy requirements can face a fine of up to £5,000, or may be imprisoned.

The Count

You and your election agent are entitled to observe the count.  You can invite one other person to attend the count.  You and Your election agent may also appoint agents to attend the count on your behalf. 

At the count, you, your election agent and, if appointed, your counting agent have a number of important roles to play:

  • they observe the counting process and make sure that it is accurate;
  • they can draw attention of count staff to any doubtful ballot papers;
  • if they disagree with a decision by the Returning Officer to reject a ballot paper, they can ask the Returning Officer to mark the ballot paper “rejection objected to”;
  • if a count is suspended for any reason or there is a break in the proceedings, counting agents can add their seals when the Returning Officer seals the ballot boxes and envelopes.

The Returning Officer will notify you of the exact time and location of the count. 

Code of Conduct

Campaigners are an essential element of a healthy democracy, and their right to put their arguments to voters should be supported and protected.  It is equally important, however, to ensure that the activities of campaigners do not ring into question the integrity of the electoral process.

The Code of Conduct provides a guide for campaigners, electoral administrators and police forces to what is, and is not, considered acceptable behaviour at polling stations and in the community during the lead-up to polling day.