What Is a Parish Council Election?


Quick Answer

A parish council election is a type of English election where citizens choose their representatives for their local government known as a parish, or community, council. Only citizens of United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland, or a member state of the European Union can stand, or run, for an English parish council election. Parish council elections are always secret-ballot elections.

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Full Answer

Parish council elections are organized in a number of different ways depending on the amount and type of candidates standing. Typically, parish council elections can be divided into two different types of elections as either contested or uncontested elections. In contested parish council elections, there are more candidates standing than vacancies available in a parish council so a poll must be held. In uncontested parish council elections, there are equal or less candidates than vacancies in a given parish council.

Candidates can stand independently or as a party candidate within the British political party system. Candidates for a parish council election must be an elector within the parish in question, have lived within the parish for at least 12 months, have their principal place of work within the parish, or live less than three miles outside of the borders of the parish. The term for elected parish councilors is four years.

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