Top Tips for Independent Candidates

Essentials:

If you haven’t declared yet you should announce your candidacy as soon as possible. You should involve the press and as many people as you can. Good tips include holding a launch party or public meeting. You should also produce press releases, letters and articles for the local press.

Electoral legislation is complex and if you don’t follow the rules you could be disqualified/fined/imprisoned. But fortunately the Electoral Commission are here to help. You should contact your local electoral office and introduce yourself as soon as possible: www.aboutmyvote.co.uk

The Electoral Commission has produced several documents on electoral guidelines and legislation for candidates and agents in the next 2011 local elections. It is essential that you read these documents. You can download the documents here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/

Make sure that as many people are aware of your candidacy as possible. For example you should write letters to the press about topical issues and always sign off with Independent Candidate for [Ward]

Make sure you have produced a campaign plan. As the old maxim goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Ensure you’ve properly planned out the next few months for campaigning. Your campaign strategy must include your USPs, method, timescale, budget, and target audience.

Other Points

Be careful of the blogosphere. While blogging is essential for the modern politician, it can be used against you. Don’t assume that you can write what you like in your blog because no-one reads it, your opponents do. Some bloggers also have a tendency to waffle; the best blogs are concise and interactive. 

The IN is endorsing candidates to provide Independents with a quality marker, that these will make good elected representatives. To find out more check out our endorsement page.

If you’re creating a new local political party for your campaign, you must register it with the Electoral Commission. You should contact the Electoral Commission and register your new party name. You must do this as early as possible, as new parties can take sometime to be officially registered. Do not use your new party name on any campaign literature until it’s officially registered:

Inform your friends, family and employer that you’re standing for election. Standing for election will in someway affect everyone around you. It’s only polite to tell you’re friends and family what you will be up to in the next few months. Campaigning is also likely to affect your job; you must discuss your candidacy with your employer, preferably before you publicly declare.

There are numerous positive reasons for voting independent. You are likely to gain respect from voters by being positive rather than focusing on MPs’ expenses and the evils of party politics. Focus on what’s right about your campaign instead of what’s wrong about everyone else. Remember, by standing as an Independent you’re contributing a positive alternative to voters.

Be kind to other independents. The IN has the potential to be an influential force for Independents. The IN needs supporters and candidates to share information and build a pool of resources. If you have any expertise and/or knowledge that could be useful for candidates, please email secretariat@independentnetwork.org.uk 

Donate. The Independent Network is a non-profit organisation that relies on funding from its supporters. It is imperative that we raise enough funds to allow us to campaign and support Independent candidates. You can donate to the IN securely via PayPal:  http://www.independentnetwork.org.uk/Donation.html 

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