21 Feb May Local Elections – Call For Candidates

If you are interested in standing in the May local elections, please contact CLEAR – either via the feedback form or the Facebook members page.

CLEAR is a political party, which means we can stand in any elections in the UK – to Parliament, the EU, Scottish Government, Welsh Assembly and Local Council Elections.

Of all these options, the local elections offer the best chance for members to get involved. Standing as a prospective Councillor for your city or county authority is an interesting experience, do it properly and you get to see the election process at first hand and you get to know your local area in a way you never thought possible. Best of all, it’s essentially free, although of course there are things you can spend money on. Unlike standing in very much higher profile Parliamentary or EU elections you might even win a seat on your local council if you run a good enough campaign.

Standing in local elections is something just about anyone can do, so this is your chance to get involved – and it’s actually a lot of fun.

The whole point of standing for CLEAR in elections is to get the word out about cannabis law reform and that has to be the main thrust of your campaign, but of course you are free to raise any issues you think might be of interest to people in your local area as well as long as they don’t bring CLEAR into disrepute, which means you have to comply with our equal opportunity statement (here). You do have to be a party member of course!

What follows is a brief run-down of what’s involved. At the end of this post are links to the Electoral Commission information that tells you everything you need to know.

Anyone can stand for local elections provided they fulfill a few simple rules – essentially you must be be over 18, on the electoral role and do not have a current criminal record. If you fit these conditions then you can get yourself nominated.

Getting nominated is very easy, it shouldn’t take more than half an hour or so. You can get a list of all the people in the ward you want to stand in from the local authority, you then have to find 10 of them to sign a simple form saying they nominate you to stand. They don’t have to agree to vote for you! In order to stand under the CLEAR party name we will have to authorise you, which means you have to let us know you’re standing. Once we do that you can use our logo and that will appear on the ballot paper.

The best thing you can do is to print a leaflet and to deliver it to every house in your ward. We will provide you with a well designed CLEAR leaflet master for you to add a section about yourself and then print.

The printing of course costs a bit of money, but it’s really the only thing you do have to spend money on but print more than you need so you have some spares. There are a few important rules to be aware of when making your leaflet, but nothing too difficult. It must, for example, carry the name of the printers and your agent’s address – which probably means your address.

Keep any receipts for money you spend – such as for printing – because you do have to declare this afterwards. There is a limit of £600 per candidate – so don’t spend too much!

One of the most interesting things you do when standing in local elections is to walk up and down every street in the ward stuffing your leaflet through each door. I can promise you that even if you’ve lived in the area all your life you will see it from an entirely new perspective after doing this. Leaflet stuffing does take a little planning though, what you do is to get a map of the ward from the local authority (they will give you one) and buy yourself a highlighter pen. As you go out on your walks, mark off the streets you’ve covered. You should be able to do the whole area on your own in five or six sorties if you go at it, but of course if you’ve got a few helpers it’s much quicker.

To do the job really well though, you need to go canvassing – knocking on doors and introducing yourself as the CLEAR candidate. If leaflet stuffing is interesting, this is a real education. You will get a taste for how the local people think in a way you simply never do normally. Don’t worry, the vast majority people are friendly when you knock on the door, but if they don’t want to talk just say OK and leave. But have some of your leaflets to hand out – and actually give them one. Do this well and (despite lots of people saying “no” to you) you will pick up a decent vote. Again, there are a few rules you must follow and these are all explained in the leaflets linked to below, but there’s nothing too difficult.

When it’s all over you can go to the count. This is yet another experience, the campaign is over and all the people at the count – the other candidates – are there because they really enjoy the experience. You get to witness the counting process and contest any uncertain votes. The count is something not to be missed.

When it’s all over you have to submit your expenses and declare all the money you’ve spent – so you will need those receipts you’ve been keeping. If you win, you will be given a seat on your local council. If you lose, well, there’s always next time.

If you are interested in standing in the May local elections, please contact CLEAR – either via the feedback form or the Facebook members page.

Information about standing from the Electoral Commission

Pt 1 – Can you stand?
Pt 2 – Standing for a party
Pt 3 – Money (spending and donations)
Pt 4 – Campaigning does and don’ts
Pt 5 – Attending the count and other key events
Pt 6 – After the election