How Great Britain Regulates Party Labels on the Ballot

The British Electoral Commission has published this 15-page book, “Introduction to Registering a Political Party.” Candidates for the House of Commons handle their own ballot access, by submitting 10 signatures and a filing fee (called a “deposit”) of 500 pounds. Therefore, there is no connection between ballot access and whether any particular party is registered. Parties do not register for the purpose of being on the ballot. Instead, parties must register to make it possible for candidates to use the party label of that party.

Registering a political party in Great Britain is simple. The parties must submit a copy of their internal rules for nominating candidates, and must submit quarterly campaign finance reports. Parties can choose any label that is no longer than six words, is not obscene or in poor taste, and which does not contain certain words or phrases, such as “none of the above” or a reference to the royal family. Parties also submit a logo, which appears on the ballot next to the names of that party’s nominees. When parties register, their name is protected, and cannot be used by other groups. Thanks to Thomas Jones for the link.


How Great Britain Regulates Party Labels on the Ballot — 6 Comments

  1. If the AltVote SCHEME is approved, then how many parties will NOT be running candidates any more ???

    Any ANTI-monarchy Party ???

    Any ANTI-lords Party ???

    P.R. and App.V.

  2. Why can’t the Democratic-Republican monoplies in the United States be as fair and “democratic?” It is beyond my grasp of words to attempt to descibe their attitude toward any party other than their own – and of course we know, they even turn on one another and will attempt to keep a nominee of the other party off the ballot if and where possible.

    Of course the answer is only when all 3rd parties and Independents start working together and put enough pressure on the Democrats and Republicans to make them be fair.

  3. Just listen to some of the commentary about Egypt or other countries currently going through turmoil over the last few weeks. A number of talking heads and politicos have come right out on camera and said they don’t want democracy in these countries because “we” can’t control who might win.

  4. #3 Never any shortage of monarchy/oligarchy MONSTERS on Mother Earth. — with their stooge robot party hack supporters.

    See Hitler exploiting ALL of the FATAL defects in the 1919 German Constitution in 1933-1934 to get total power.
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V. — before it is too late.

  5. Historically, the UK didn’t use party labels on their ballots. The elections were simple, since there is not a separate executive branch and judicial officers are not elected. If you can only vote for one person, it is relatively easy to remember the name of the candidate of your party. The concept of straight-ticket vote is meaningless.

    Also elections are held on short notice, so that there is no time for any elaborate nomination scheme (parties internally designate their candidate in advance of an anticipated election).

    It may also have been felt unseemly for someone who seeks to act as a minister to HM should not be seen as representing the interests of a political faction.

    When party labels were added, they were technically candidate descriptions. There were cases where candidates ran as “Literal Democrats”.

    The UK has some elections where party affiliation is significant because some or all members are elected as representing a party and voters vote for a party rather than a candidate. These include Members of the European Parliament, and members of the Scottish Parliament and the Assembly For Wales. The party regulations are also used to monitor campaign spending.

    California is evolving toward such a scheme. For example, legislative candidates only need 40 signatures on their petition (they represent more people than do British MPs). Candidates who have established their membership in a party may have that party name appear on the ballot. It is only because the Secretary of State does not use a straightforward reading of what the law actually says that she prevents candidates affiliated with small parties from having that affiliation on the ballot.

    California could switch from its current free-form write-in registration, to a system which required a form of registration that would establish the actuality of a party (a minimal membership, bylaws, governance by the members, financial reporting, and responsible officers). These are really quite similar to how states regulate corporations.

    The deposit in the UK combines aspects of the filing fee and in lieu of signatures. If a candidate receives sufficient votes (IIRC, 5%) they get their deposit back.

  6. The British Conservatives have recently experimented with a nominating system very similar to what we in the US call a caucus. A party committee narrows to three the number of candidates who are placed before the meeting. ANY citizen who registers in advance may attend and vote at the meeting.

    This meeting is referred to by that sexy moniker, “open primary.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *