Candidates and Agents

You're invited to attend prospective candidates and agents briefing being held at the Council House on the following dates:

Thursday 19 March at 5.30pm - This has been postponed (subject to confirmation of election)
Becoming a Councillor (Council House, Council Chamber)

Tuesday 14 April at 5.30pm
Candidates and Agents Briefing (Council House, Council Chamber)

The first of these, Becoming a Councillor, will take place 5:30pm on Thursday 19 March and will cover; the election timetable, electoral processes such as nominations, postal voting, polling station voting and guidance on campaigning.

A further briefing will take place at 5.30pm on Tuesday 14 April to provide updated information on candidate and agent arrangements in addition to details regarding the election count.

Outside of these meetings, the Returning Officer, and the Electoral Services team, will be available to provide assistance.

Election agents are encouraged to meet individually with Glenda Favor-Ankersen as soon as possible. Please contact her directly to arrange a meeting.

All electors who are eligible to vote at this election can apply for a postal vote.  The postal voting application deadline is 5pm on Wednesday 22 April 2020.  This is also the deadline for making changes to or cancelling existing postal and proxy votes. Candidates, election agents, and postal voting agents are entitled to attend postal vote opening sessions, the first of which takes place in the Reception Room at the Council House on Wednesday 29 April 2020. 

The final session will start at 1pm on polling day at the count centre and continue until all postal votes have been opened and verified.

Additional guidance will be released to cover the handling of postal vote applications and postal vote packs by campaigners.

Candidates, election agents and postal voting agents are entitled to attend the postal vote opening sessions. You may appoint one postal voting agent to attend each session.

Please ensure that you and your agents have read and adhere to the following guidance:

 Code of conduct on for campaigners: electoral registration, postal voting, proxy voting and polling stations [PDF, 225KB]

 Secrecy requirements – postal voting [PDF, 75KB]

The document below from the Electoral Commission explains the process of opening and verifying postal votes:

 Your right to attend key electoral events [PDF, 131KB]

Schedule of dates and times for opening and verification of postal ballot papers 

Location Date Time
Reception Room, Council House, Armada Way, PL1 2AA Wednesday 29 April 9am to Finish
Reception Room, Council House, Armada Way, PL1 2AA Thursday 30 April 9am to Finish
Reception Room, Council House, Armada Way, PL1 2AA Friday 1 May 9am to Finish
Reception Room, Council House, Armada Way, PL1 2AA Wednesday 6 May 9am to Finish
Plymouth Life Centre, Mayflower Drive, PL2 3DG Thursday 7 May            1pm onwards                                   

Polling stations

The official list of polling stations to be used at these elections will be published at 5pm on Wednesday 29 April 2020 and will be displayed on the Council’s website. It will also be shared with local and national media.

Polling stations will be open on Thursday 7 May 2020 from 7am until 10pm.

As a candidate or election agent you are entitled to enter and remain in a polling station but you are not permitted to interrupt or disrupt voting or attempt to canvass voters.

The Poll

The Poll will commence at 7am on Thursday 7 May 2020, and close at 10pm. To be issued with their ballot papers, electors must be either inside the polling station, or in the issuing queue by the 10pm deadline. This means that, so long as a voter attends the polling station by 10pm they will still be able to vote, regardless of the length of the queue.


Tellers act on behalf of candidates and parties to ascertain who has voted at an election. There are no specific legislative requirements regarding tellers, but we do ask all participants in the election to conform to the Electoral Commission’s guidance regarding tellers and their activities.

 Tellers 'do's and don'ts' [PDF, 192KB]

 Guidance on the conduct of tellers [PDF, 72KB]

We request that tellers do not approach voters as they enter the polling station; instead they should speak to voters when they are leaving the polling station. Usually this involves asking the voter for their electoral number. If an elector does not know their electoral number, and has already disposed of their poll card, the polling station staff will not be able to assist. Polling station staff are only able to provide information to polling agents.

We will distribute guidance to election agents about the role of tellers and we ask that all election participants agree to abide by these guidelines. This will ensure the election is contested as fairly as possible and that voters are not obstructed, delayed or hindered in any way when attending their polling station. If there are any issues the Acting Returning Officer will resolve them with the election agents.

 Secrecy requirements for the poll [PDF, 121KB]

 Code of conduct on for campaigners: electoral registration, postal voting, proxy voting and polling stations [PDF, 225KB]

The count will begin immediately after the close of poll at 10pm on Thursday 7 May 2020. All attendees entitled to be present at the count will be sent an official invitation in advance.

Verification and counting of votes will take place at the Life Centre, Mayflower Drive, Plymouth, PL2 3DG.

You can enter the hall from 10pm. On entry you will be asked to show your invitation and will be given a lanyard. The colour of each lanyard denotes the access rights of the individual wearing it. Everyone entering the count hall will be given a leaflet which provides some general information including the layout.

There will be 20 teams with six count assistants in each team.

Ballot boxes will start to arrive at approximately 10:15pm. Postal votes will be brought into the count hall as soon as the final opening is complete.

 Secrecy requirements for verification and count [PDF, 116KB]

Key Events

Nominations Period: This begins on the day the Notice of Election is published. This notice will be published on Friday 27 March 2020. Nomination papers can officially be received after the Notice of Elections had been published. The deadline for submission of nomination papers is 4pm on Wednesday 8 April 2020.

Appointment of Election Agent: This must be completed by 4pm on Wednesday 8 April 2020. There is more information on election agents later in the guidance.

Deadline to Register to Register to Vote: This is the deadline for electors for adding new names to the register, or amend existing ones. The deadline is at midnight on Tuesday 21 April 2020.

Deadline to apply for a postal vote: This is the deadline for electors to apply for a postal vote and make changes to or cancel an existing postal vote. The deadline is 5pm on Wednesday 22 April 2020.

Deadline to apply for a proxy vote: The deadline for electors to apply for proxy vote is 5pm on Wednesday 29 April 2020.

Applications for an emergency proxy can be applied for from 5pm on Wednesday 29 April 2020 to 5pm on Thursday 7 May 2020 but specific criteria must be met for such applications.

Appointment of Counting Agents: These are the people who will attend the count and help scrutinise the process on behalf of the candidates. The deadline is 5pm on Thursday 30 April 2020. There is more information on counting agents later in the guidance.

Polling Day: Thursday 7 May 2020 from 7am until 10pm

Deadline for Expenses: All candidates and election agents must submit their full expense returns. The actual deadline will depend on when the result is officially declared, but is most likely by Friday 12 June 2020.