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Would you like to influence the way local services are provided? Have you thought about getting more involved in the community? This page tells you how you can stand for election at any of the three tiers (Colchester Borough Council, Local parish and town councils or Essex County Council) of local government serving your area.
You can stand for election for your local council if:
If you can meet these requirements, and you live in the Colchester Borough Council area, you can try to become a councillor for:
If you want to, and you can get elected, you can be a councillor in all three types of council at once.
Councillors help make decisions about the way local services are provided, and how the council tax and government grants are spent. The matters they are involved in depends on the type of council:
The following section tells you how elections are held for the 3 types of councils:
Colchester Borough Council:
Elections for Colchester Borough Council are held every three out of four years on the first Thursday in May.
Colchester Borough Council has 51 councillors representing 17 wards. One third of Council (17 Councillors) are elected each year, with no election being held every fourth year, when elections for Essex County Council are held.
Essex County Council:
Elections for Essex County Council are held every fourth year. The next election is due in 2017.
Essex County Council is divided into 9 electoral divisions with 1 councillor for each division. There are 9 divisions serving the Colchester area.
Parish and town councils:
Parish and town councils have elections every four years on the first Thursday in May.
Find contact details for the chairman and clerk of each council
Parish and town councils vary in size from 5 to 15 councillors depending on the population of the parish. Meetings are normally held once a month.
Some parish and town councils are sub-divided into parish wards. Each parish ward has a separate election and you can only stand in one ward of the parish.
It is common for parish councillors to be elected without a ballot because the number of candidates at an election is not more than the number of vacancies. By increasing the number of candidates you can help to make sure voters get a chance to cast their vote.
By-elections can occur in any ward, division or parish at any time if a councillor resigns or dies. The council must put up a notice in the area to publicise the 'casual' vacancy.
If the councillor's term of office was due to end in less than 6 months, an election cannot be held until the normal day of elections in May. Otherwise an election can be called if a certain number of electors ask for it before the deadline stated in the notice. The number of signatures needed to call an election to fill a vacancy is:
Casual vacancies in parish councils are most commonly filled by co-option. If no one calls an election, the council can simply appoint anyone it chooses. Before asking for an election to fill a casual vacancy, you could contact the parish clerk or chairman to ask about being co-opted.
The elections office of Colchester Borough Council manages all local and national elections in the Colchester area. They will put up a Notice of Election at the Town Hall (and in each parish) telling you where and when to apply to be a candidate. For May elections the notice will usually be put up in the middle of March.
To become a candidate you must:
You don't need to be a member of a political party to be a councillor. Anyone can stand as an independent candidate. In parish and town councils it is rare for candidates to stand as party candidates.
For borough and county councils, most councillors stand as party candidates (but you don't have to). To stand as a party candidate you must have a certificate from the party nominating officer confirming that you are their candidate.
By standing for election, and letting electors know who you are and what you stand for, you are helping local democracy by giving voters a choice. If you get elected, you will know that you have the support of the people who voted for you.
Contact Colchester Borough Council elections office for all types of elections in the Colchester area: