Guidance for Candidates and Agents

Information and guidance for the Thursday 6 May 2021 elections.

On this page:

Elections being held

  • Police & Crime Commissioner (delayed from May 2020)
    - Police Area Returning Officer PARO - Mark Heath (Southampton City Council)
    - Local Returning Officer - Bob Jackson (New Forest District Council)
  • Hampshire County Council (scheduled 6 May 2021)
    - County Returning Officer - John Coughlan (Hampshire County Council)
    - Deputy County Returning Officer - Bob Jackson (New Forest District Council)
  • Ringwood North By-Election (delayed from April 2020)
    - Returning Officer - Bob Jackson (New Forest District Council)
  • Hythe & Dibden (Butts Ash) By-Election (earliest election date)
    - Returning Officer - Bob Jackson (New Forest District Council)
  • Milford on Sea (two vacancies) By-Election (earliest election date)
    - Returning Officer - Bob Jackson (New Forest District Council)
  • New Milton Neighbourhood Planning Referendum (earliest election date)
    - Counting Officer - Bob Jackson (New Forest District Council)

Planning considerations

Due to the postponement of elections in May 2020, combined with the varied set of polls scheduled for 2021 the May 2021 polls are particularly complex and varied.

Considerations will need to be taken during the preparation and delivery of these polls concerning the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Planning for these polls has commenced early and initial risk assessments have been completed, further risk assessments of all processes will continue throughout. These will be kept under review to ensure plans remain appropriate and the elections are delivered successfully as the government guidelines continue to adapt to the situation.

The processes put in place may be different but are designed to enable you to participate in these elections safely.

We would ask for support in ensuring that the processes and precautions put in place are adhered to fully.

Candidates and Agents

If you are planning to be a Candidate or Agent in these elections, please contact us as soon as possible using the contact details below, providing your full name, contact telephone number and contact email address.

This information will be added to our distribution list so, as relevant information becomes available, it can be sent to you.

If you do not already have an email address, you are advised to set one up if possible. The timetable is tight and, you may miss a critical deadline if you are relying on being contacted by post.

Please read the following guidance fully. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Elections

If you are interested in standing as a candidate at the Police and Crime Commissioner elections nominations are dealt with by the Police Area Returning Officer (PARO), Mark Heath, at Southampton City Council.

For more information please visit the Police Area Returning Officer website.

Hampshire County Council Elections

New Forest District Council will be administering the elections on behalf of Hampshire County Council for the ten County Divisions in the New Forest area.

Further information about the role of a County Councillor can be found on Hampshire County Council's website.

The Electoral Commission's Guidance for Candidates and Agents will also provide you with further advice on the processes you will need to follow to stand for election.

Parish By-elections

There will be by-elections for several Parish and Town Council vacancies. 

If you are interested in standing for election for one of these vacancies more information about what is required from councillors, including expectations and commitment, can be obtained directly from the relevant Parish Clerk. 

The Electoral Commission's Guidance for Candidates and Agents will also provide you with further advice on the processes you will need to follow to stand for election.

Briefing for candidates and agents

A virtual briefing for candidates and agents to cover the processes and requirement for nomination, as well as arrangements for polling day and the count, will be held on 11 March 2021 at 7pm.

For these elections the briefing for candidate and agents will be undertaken remotely using online meeting software - Microsoft Teams.

This briefing is open to anyone who is considering standing for election and/or their agents and will include opportunities for questions and answers. The meeting will be recorded for those unable to attend and available to watch at a later date via this website.

Further information, including links to join the meeting, will be made available nearer the time.

If you are unable to attend briefings in this way please email Rebecca Drummond who will make specific arrangements with you.

To help ensure information is sent out accordingly we would ask that you contact us via the email at the bottom of this page to express an interest in the briefing.  

Electoral register

Candidates are entitled to receive a copy of the relevant parts of the electoral register. 

We encourage, where possible, that copies of the register are sent electronically, and requests should be made by contacting us via the email address at the bottom of this page.

Nominations

This information relates to nominations for Hampshire County Council elections and Town and Parish by-elections only. 

Nominations for Police and Crime Commissioner elections should be directed to the Police Area Returning Officer.

Nomination Packs

Standard nomination packs for candidates are available to download here for the County Council elections and here for the Parish elections.

A printed copy can be requested by contacting us via the email address at the bottom of this page which will be sent to you by post.

It will not be possible to collect nomination packs in person at these elections.

Closing Date for Nominations

The closing date for nominations is Thursday 8 April 2021 at 4pm.

Nominations received after this time will not be valid.

Arrangements for submitting nominations

Nominations should be delivered in person to Electoral Services at:

Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
Lyndhurst
Hampshire
SO43 7PA

Candidates will be asked to make appointments to submit their nomination form. This is to ensure the safety of the candidate and all staff. 

The appointment system will help limit the number of people coming in to contact with each other and reduce the likelihood of queues forming. 

Where possible we would ask that only one person deliver the nomination papers to minimise the number of people needing to enter the council's offices.

Appointments can be made by contacting us via the email address at the bottom of this page and will be available from 10am to 4pm from 23 March 2021 to 8 April 2021 (excluding bank holidays).

Informal checks will be undertaken remotely where possible and we request that nomination papers are scanned and emailed to us via the email address at the bottom of this page to enable these checks. Where this is not possible informal checks will only by undertaken on an appointment basis to ensure those entering the council's offices and the length of time of their visit is minimised.

Please note that if at short notice the offices at Appletree Court becomes out of use the back-up venue will be Lymington Town Hall. In the event that this secondary venue is to be used, agents and candidates will be informed accordingly along with appropriate signage at the primary venue to direct candidates to the secondary venue. Information will also be updated on this website.

Poll cards

One combined poll card will be issued for all elections being held on 6 May 2021 and as such will be kept simple to avoid confusion. 

A separate poll card will be issued for the New Milton Neighbourhood Planning Referendum, as required.

Absent voting

We expect there will be an increase in people choosing to vote by post or proxy for these elections and early application for absent voting is being encouraged. This is to ensure all applications can be processed in good time.

We intend to issue a combined postal voting pack for the Police and Crime Commissioner and Hampshire County Council elections and individual packs for the Town and Parish by-elections and the Neighbourhood Planning Referendum as required.

It is anticipated that Postal vote packs will be delivered from Monday 19 April 2021. 

Information on the venue and dates for postal vote opening sessions will be made available nearer the time.

Electors can find more information about registering to vote and how to apply for an absent vote in this election via this website.

Polling stations

Polling stations will be assessed to ensure that voters can cast their vote safely.

It is anticipated that each polling station will be staffed by a presiding officer, with one poll clerk and a support clerk who will be responsible for Covid-19 safety which will include only allowing a limited number of voters into the polling station at any one time. 

Guidance and instructions will be made available ahead of polls for voters. This guidance will outline some of the necessary precautions we have taken to ensure the safety of all electors and staff.

This will include:

  • Social distancing
  • The handling of papers
  • The use of voter's own pen or pencil
  • Cleaning standards of all equipment and polling booths
  • Compulsory mask wearing for all voters and polling staff.

Verification and counting of votes

The count venue will be Applemore Health & Leisure Centre in Hythe.

To ensure a safe social distancing can be maintained we will be appointing fewer count staff and as such the count will take longer than usual. Observers and guests at the count will be minimised as far as possible whilst still allowing for appropriate scrutiny of proceedings. All attendees at the count will be required to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing at all times.

There will be no overnight counting instead the verification and counting of votes will be undertaken as follows:

Friday 7 May         

Morning - Verification of all votes

Afternoon - Counting and declaration of Hampshire County Council votes and by-election votes.

Saturday 8 May     

Morning - Counting and declaration of by-election votes (if needed). 

Monday 10 May     

Morning - Mini verification of Police Crime Commissioner votes.

Morning/afternoon - Counting and declaration of Police Crime Commissioner votes.

Election Timetable

The timetable for these elections, including statutory deadlines, is as follows:

Publication of Notice of Election
Monday 22 March 2021

Deadline for delivery of Nominations
4pm Thursday 8 April 2021

Deadline for withdrawal of Candidate
4pm Thursday 8 April 2021

Deadline for appointment of Election Agents
4pm Thursday 8 April 2021

Publication of Notice of Election Agents
4pm Thursday 8 April 2021

Publication of Statement of Persons Nominated
4pm Friday 9 April 2021

Last Date for Registration 
Monday 19 April 2021

Deadline for receipt of Postal Vote Applications
5pm Tuesday 20 April 2021

Deadline for receipt of Proxy Vote Applications
5pm Tuesday 27 April 2021

Deadline for appointment of Poll and Count Agents
Wednesday 28 April 2021

First Day to Issue Replacement Lost Postal Ballot Papers
Thursday 29 April 2021

Day of Poll
7am to 10pm Thursday 6 May 2021

Receipt of Emergency Proxy Vote Applications (physical incapacity)
5pm Thursday 6 May 2021

Last Day to Issue Replacement Spoilt or Lost Postal Ballot Papers
5pm Thursday 6 May 2021

Return of Election Expenses  
Thursday 10 June 2021

General information

As with national elections, you and your campaigners should also have regard to the Electoral Commission's Code of Conduct for Campaigners which outlines what is, and what is not, acceptable behaviour at polling stations and in the community during the lead up to polling day.

Contact us

For any enquiries or to contact us for any of the reasons listed above please use the following contact details.

Email: electoralservices@nfdc.gov.uk

Phone: 023 8028 5445

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