Newsletter 1

Introduction

This newsletter will set out my plan to the administration of elections within the Braintree District scheduled for 6 May 2021. 

Covid19 restrictions do not allow for my traditional face to face Candidate and Agent briefing. I have decided to present targeted and timely information through a series of newsletters. I will share these via email to:

  • Party Agents
  • Independent Candidates (when known)
  • Political Group Leaders 
  • Current County Councillors

I will also publish these on the Council website.

As Returning Officer I recognise that the 2021 Elections will present us all with many challenges and questions. I will be happy to provide clarity on matters of administration. Regrettably, I am unable to provide any guidance, advice or interpretation on matters of Law or Candidate activity. I recommend that, in such cases, you seek your own independent legal advice.

The Electoral Commission has published guidance to assist Candidates and Agents. I encourage you to download this guidance.

The law does not permit me to investigate any allegations of activity which may be contrary to Law, either Electoral or Covid related. In such cases when notified I must report this to the Police for investigation. I do not have any powers to stop the Electoral process.

I am sure you will appreciate that, as Returning Officer I need to take a balanced view on how I deliver the electoral process in the current climate whilst ensuring a transparent process. I must also be mindful of the ongoing Public Health situation. This means considering and putting in place arrangements which will protect my Staff, Candidates, Supporters and the wider Electorate. 

I will use my best endeavours to minimise, what may appear, disruption to our established processes. I will update you as and when I am able.

Andy Wright
Returning Officer
Information

Covid19

The Electoral process is subject to Primary legislation. This means the Returning Officer has no latitude or discretion and must apply the regulations under the Rule of Law. The current Covid19 legislation and restrictions do not override Primary Election law.

Polls 6 May 2021

The elections present Returning Officers, Electoral Administrators, Political Parties and Candidates with unique challenges.

It will therefore impact on us all and the need to deliver both safe and transparent elections will be paramount.

At the time of publication we plan to take polls for:

  • Election of Councillors for Essex County Council (White Ballot papers):
    • Bocking
    • Braintree Eastern
    • Braintree Town
    • Halstead
    • Hedingham
    • Three Fields with Great Notley
    • Witham Northern
    • Witham Southern
  • Election of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for the Essex Police Area (Buff Ballot papers)
  • Election of Councillor to Braintree District Council (Yellow Ballot papers):
    • Witham South
  • Election of Town/Parish Councillors (Green Ballot papers):
    • Witham, Witham (Hatfield ward) – 1 seat
    • Finchingfield, Finchingfield (Finchingfield ward) – 3 seats
    • Finchingfield, Finchingfield (Cornish Hall End ward) – 1 seat
    • Coggeshall, Coggeshall (South ward) – 1 seat
    • Coggeshall, Coggeshall (North ward) – 1 seat   
  • Neighbourhood Planning Referendums (Lilac Ballot papers) Subject to final Planning Inspector approval:
    • Coggeshall
    • The Salings

Nominations

We publish nomination forms and guidance on completion, checking and submission on the election webpages

Your Campaign

All election promotional material must carry your official imprint. This applies to all printed, social and electronic media. Full guidance is available in the Electoral Commissions Guidance to Candidates and Agents.

Election Administration Timetable

(Summary)

  • 19 March, Publication of Notice of Election
  • 19 March, Purdah (pre election publicity period) commences
  • 22 March, Nomination period opens 9.00am to 5.00pm (Monday – Friday)
  • 22 March, Poll Cards delivered
  • 8 April, Close of Nominations (4.00pm)
  • 19 April, Postal votes (Issues 1 and 2) posted 1st Class 
  • 19 April, Last day to Register to Vote (Midnight)
  • 20 April, Deadline for Receipt of Postal Vote Applications (Issue 3) (5.00pm)    
  • 27 April, Deadline for Receipt of Proxy Vote Applications (5.00pm) 
Contact details

Returning/Deputy Returning Officer    

  • Andy Wright
  • 01376 552525
  • andy.wright@braintree.gov.uk

Election Team

  • Steve Daynes
  • 01376 557751
  • Steve.daynes@braintree.gov.uk

  • Jenny Armstrong
  • 01376 552525 ext 2649
  • Jenny.armstrong@braintree.gov.uk

  • Thelma Loo
  • 01376 557750
  • Thelma.loo@braintree.gov.uk