Rules for the conduct of NEC elections
Thursday, 29th November 2007
Rules for the conduct of elections
to the National Executive Committee (NEC)
1 Returning Officer
1.1 The NEC shall appoint a Returning Officer in accordance with Paragraph 10.2 of the Constitution.
1.2 The Returning Officer shall not be a Candidate, a Proposer, Seconder or Assentor of any Candidate or a paid or unpaid employee of any Candidate.
1.3 The NEC shall either:
1.3.1 Appoint an independent agency to conduct the election according to rules to be agreed with said agency; or
1.3.2 Instruct the Returning Officer to conduct the election in accordance with Sections 5 to 9 of these Party Election rules.
2.1 The Returning Officer shall establish a timetable which shall include:
2.1.1 closing date for Candidate nominations;
2.1.2 closing date for receipt of Candidates' CVs & photographs;
2.1.3 closing date for Candidates wishing to withdraw;
2.1.4 approximate date for distribution of voting papers/Candidates' details;
2.1.5 closing date for return of voting papers;
2.1.6 expected date of Count and Declaration of result.
2.2 The Returning Officer shall publish, in the Party newsletter penultimate to the date of the election, the timetable for the election, the number of posts to be filled and instructions for Candidates seeking nomination.
3.1 A valid nomination shall consist of a Candidate's consent to nomination and the signatures of a Proposer, a Seconder and eight Assentors. All must be fully paid-up party members on the closing date for nominations.
3.2 Proposers and Seconders may propose or second only one Candidate's nomination forms.
3.3 Assentors may sign Candidates' papers not exceeding the number of posts to be filled
3.4 Candidates who have been full members for less than one year at the closing date for nominations must be proposed and seconded by members who have been full members for more than one year at the said date.
3.5 Candidates who work in any paid capacity as an employee, self-employed or as a consultant, either directly or indirectly, for the Party, for Party members elected to public office or for political groups and organisations of which the Party holds membership (together called 'Connected Parties') may stand but shall not be permitted to continue with such paid work and hold elected office simultaneously. If any such person is elected to any such Party Office and does not terminate their work in any paid capacity with such Connected Parties then they shall be deemed to have resigned from such Elected Office.
3.6 Nominations shall not be accepted from members who are currently suspended from holding Party office.
4.1 Each Candidate shall be entitled to have their details published in a medium deemed appropriate by the Returning Officer that shall be sent to all members eligible to vote along with the voting papers. These details shall consist of the names of the Candidate's Proposer, Seconder, and Assentors, a personal statement (number of words to be set by the Returning Officer) and a recent photograph. The Returning Officer may require any misleading information to be amended or deleted and may require other relevant information to be added.
4.2 Candidates and their supporters shall not distribute any unsolicited material by any means whatsoever.
4.3 Candidates may distribute printed material, approved by the Returning Officer in advance, to Party members who request it. Said material shall not exceed four sides (two pages) of A4 paper for any Candidate and shall be printed in black and white only.
4.4 Candidates’ personal statements may include references to internet websites, provided that the material presented on the website(s) has been approved by the Returning Officer.
4.5 Candidates may respond individually to specific enquiries from Party members without reference to the Returning Officer.
4.6 Candidates and their supporters are reminded that campaigning activities should be conducted in a friendly and constructive manner, and that they remain at all times bound by the Party Constitution and rules. Any breaches may be referred to the Party's Discipline Committee and could result in disciplinary action. In the case of a serious breach, the Returning Officer may disqualify a Candidate from the election. A Candidate disqualified in this way may appeal to the Discipline Committee. Any such appeal must be lodged in full within one month of the date of disqualification.
4.7 Candidates and their supporters are reminded that use of Party membership lists is subject to data protection legislation, and that improper use of such lists is a criminal offence.
5 Voting Papers
5.1 One voting paper shall be sent by post to each full member eligible to vote who is registered as a member on the closing date for nominations.
5.2 Voting papers shall be accompanied by a pre-addressed return envelope and sheets containing candidates’ statements and other details.
5.3 The return envelope shall be pre-addressed and the membership number of the voter shall be pre-printed on it.
5.5 These items shall be sent to members' home addresses as shown on the party's membership records. A copy of the mailing list shall be retained by the Returning Officer.
5.4 Each voting paper shall list the candidates in alphabetical order and shall carry the following instructions:
5.4.1 Votes are to be by means of crosses, the number of crosses to not exceed the number of posts to be filled.
5.4.2 Completed voting paper to be folded, inserted into the return envelope and posted.
5.5 Envelopes containing completed voting papers shall be counted daily as they are received, the membership number on the envelope verified against the membership database and verified envelopes then stored securely by the Returning Officer or his nominee.
5.6 Envelopes containing completed voting papers shall not be opened until the day of the count.
6 Spoiled voting papers
6.1 A member who spoils a ballot paper may request a replacement which will be sent out by first class post. Replacement return envelopes will not be issued.
7 The Count
7.1 The count shall be conducted in the presence of the Returning Officer or his deputy, at a location to be announced by the Returning Officer.
7.2 Candidates and their appointees, as permitted by the Returning Officer, may attend the count.
7.3 The Returning Officer shall appoint staff to assist in the count. Candidates and their appointees shall not be permitted to assist in the count.
7.4.1 counting the number of voting papers returned;
7.4.2 identification and count of invalid voting papers;
7.4.3 calculation of the turnout (number of valid voting papers returned / number of voting papers issued);
7.4.4 calculation the number of votes cast for each Candidate.
7.5 A Candidate may request a recount in the event of a close result or if he or she believes there has been an error or discrepancy in the count. The Returning Officer may refuse to hold a recount requested for frivolous or spurious reasons.
7.6 In the event of a tie, a coin shall be tossed, or lots drawn to determine final placings.
7.7 The Returning Officer shall produce a signed declaration of the results and announce the results of the elections as soon as the count has been completed to his satisfaction.
7.8 All voting papers, calculation sheets and a copy of the signed declaration shall be stored in sealed packages, countersigned by an independent witness, to be stored at the discretion of the Returning Officer for not less than twelve months from the date of the count.
7.9 The Returning Officer's decision in all matters relating to the Count shall be final.
8 Doubtful voting intentions
8.1 Where there is doubt about voting intentions, the Returning Officer may ask Candidates to agree how to count the vote, but the Returning Officer's decision shall be final.
9 Invalid voting papers
9.1 A voting paper shall be declared invalid if:
9.1.1 the voter has voted for more than the permitted number of Candidates; or
9.1.4 the intentions of the voter cannot be deciphered; or
9.1.5 the voting paper has not been received by the day of the count.
10.1 Successful candidates shall be required to confirm in writing within seven days of the declaration of the result acceptance of the said post.
10.2 All candidates shall be sent a copy of these rules.
10.3 Any member shall be sent a copy of these rules on request.
10.4 These rules shall always be subordinate to the Party Constitution.
10.5 Any variation of these rules shall be agreed by the NEC and the Returning Officer and notified immediately to all Candidates.
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