We are a political party not a pressure group, think tank or a debating society, so our first priority is recruiting as many members as possible - whether this is by handing out leaflets, word of mouth, on the internet, by organising events is up to you. We need members to stand in elections, every vote counts even if there is no chance of any of us being elected,
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We know perfectly well that it will be years before we have any local councillors and decades before we actually control a local council, or have MPs or Assembly members. But it vitally important that members stand at elections - it shows that we are a serious party and, as UKIP and the Greens have shown, if enough people vote for a party with clear manifesto aims then even if the party has little electoral success, there is a good chance of the government of the day adopting those measures in whole or in part - that is the whole point.
To win votes at elections, we need members to stand at local and national elections - you don't get votes if you're not on the ballot paper. With a bit of luck, we'll pick up votes from the undecideds who have never heard of us before but like our name when they see it on the ballot paper.
It may sound trite, but make sure that you are registered to vote where you live i.e. where it's convenient for you to vote. You don't have to registered to vote in an area where you stand as a Parliamentary candidate, but it's one of the qualifications for standing at local/council elections.
Just to demystify the whole process...
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Some people are daunted by the idea of standing at elections but it is actually no big deal provided you are organised.
Experience shows us that voters at local elections know full well that local councils have little effective power and many will vote for an outsider or cast a protest vote. In relative terms, our candidates have done much better at local elections than in elections for MPs. Experience also shows that if get on the ballot paper every year, your vote share tends to creep up over time.
Standing at local council elections (town, parish, district, unitary or county) is free - you do not need to pay a deposit. In general, all you need to do is fill in a few irritating forms; get permission from our Nominating Officer to use the YPP name and logo; and get your nomination papers signed by six to ten people (depending on the type of election) eligible to vote in that ward. To make things more difficult, you have to enter each person's electoral roll number on the form, but you can obtain the full list electronically from the council if you ask early enough.
Getting your name and our name on the ballot paper is two-thirds of the battle. If you have time to campaign or at least get friends and family to vote for you, then great. Leafletting does not seem to make much difference to how many votes you get, but if you do have some money to spare (£50 - £300 depending on the type of election and the size of the ward), then you can have leaflets printed and delivered if you pay extra (they are surprisingly cheap). Don't forget to fill in your expenses return and submit it to the council afterwards, even if it is a nil return!
Each local council has its own electoral cycle. In most areas in most years there will be an election to something or other. You just have to start paying attention to the local council website in February and March to see what's up for grabs.
The DCLG have a good summary of the system here, they explain the electoral cycle here. There are about 20,000 local councillors at all levels in the UK, so to put up a full slate of candidates at every election about 6,000 members would have to stand.
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Standing as a candidate for MP (i.e. at a by-election or the General Election) is slightly more faff (you need twelve signatures) but apart from that much the same as standing at local elections. The big difference is that candidates have to pay a £500 deposit which they only get back if they get more than 5% of the votes cast, and of course there's an expenses/donations form to fill in afterwards. YPP itself has limited funds, but we will do what we can to support you. That's the bad news.
The good news is that at General Elections, the Royal Mail will deliver your leaflets for free to each household in the constituency. If you can also scrape together £500 - £750 to have enough leaflets printed, the deposit is actually good value for money (it works out at about 1p per leaflet delivered), although as mentioned, having leaflets delivered does not seem to make much difference to the number of votes you get.
The total cost of a bare minimum General Election campaign with a full slate of 650 candidates and a leaflet for every household is at least £1 million; there's no upper limit, but spending much more than £1 million is probably a waste of money. Clearly we won't be able to afford anything like that until our membership is in the tens of thousands.
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The same sort of rules apply at elections to the devolved assemblies in Scotland and Wales and the London Assembly/Mayoral elections. Deposits for some elections are as much as £5,000.
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