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Nomination Process

Lodging a nomination paper

Intending candidates should contact the Council Secretariat, Donegal County Council, County House Lifford on 074 91 53900 to make an appointment to lodge their nomination paper.


Nominations Process


1.            Nomination

A candidate may nominate himself or herself or may, with the candidate’s consent, be nominated by a proposer.  A proposer must be registered as a local government elector in the local electoral area of the local authority for which he or she proposes to nominate the candidate.


2.            Candidate Nomination Procedures

A nomination paper from a candidate of a registered political party must have a certificate of political affiliation attached (see paragraph 3 below).


If no certificate is attached, one or other of the following procedures must be complied with before the expiration of the time for receiving nominations:


(i)            the completion of statutory declarations by 15 assentors registered as local government electors in the relevant local electoral area which must be witnessed by a Commissioner for Oaths, a Peace Commissioner, a Notary Public, a member of the Garda Síochána or an official of the registration authority,


(ii)           the candidate, or someone on his or her behalf, lodging a deposit of €100 with the returning officer. 


Under the assentors option, the relevant forms for the making of statutory declarations (Form LE1A) are available from returning officers and registration authorities.  The relevant details of the assentors must be included on the statutory declarations - number (and polling district letters) on the register of local government electors in force at the time of assent, address on the register, contact details, the relevant local electoral area on the date of assent where he/she is registered, the name and address of the candidate, and the form of prescribed photographic ID produced and any identifying number on it. 


Each assentor MUST when making the statutory declaration bring one of the following photographic documents for identification purposes – passport, driving licence, employee identity card containing a photograph, student identity card issued by an educational institution and containing a photograph, travel document containing name and photograph, Public Services Card, Temporary Residence Certificate or a Garda National Immigration Bureau card. One of the documents MUST be produced to the person taking the statutory declaration. 


An assent is valid only in respect of the local electoral area in which the assentor’s address at the time of assent is located at election time. The assent may be made at any time but it may only be used at the next local election in the relevant local electoral area and it expires when the register current when the statutory declaration was made ceases to be in force, notwithstanding that no such election may have been held by then. 


Responsibility lies with the candidate or proposer to secure the necessary assents, to attach the 15 statutory declarations to the nomination paper and to deliver all the documentation to the returning officer by the deadline for receipt of nominations. 


An assentor must confirm on the statutory declaration that he or she has not assented to the nomination of any other candidate in the election concerned. Under the Statutory Declarations Act 1938, a person who knowingly makes a false or misleading statutory declaration in any material respect is liable on conviction to a class B fine[1] or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both. However, a candidate’s nomination will not be invalid where a person assents to the nomination of more than one candidate.


Under the deposits option, a candidate may choose the alternative of making a deposit and, if he or she does not do so and has not opted to secure 15 assents, their candidature will be deemed to have been withdrawn.  A candidate, or someone on his or her behalf, may lodge a deposit of €100 with the returning officer before the expiration of the time for receiving nominations. The deposit may be made by means of legal tender or, with the consent of the returning officer, in any other manner. The deposit will be returned in the case of successful candidates, those receiving votes in excess of a quarter of the quota and in certain other circumstances: not being validly nominated, withdrawal of candidature or death.  Otherwise, the deposit will be forfeited.  (Where the deposit is to be returned, it will be returned to the person making it and the name and address of that person should be entered at 3(3) on the nomination paper).


All relevant parts of the nomination paper must be completed by all candidates.


3.            Certificate of Political Affiliation

If a candidate represents a registered political party, a completed certificate of political affiliation must be lodged with the nomination paper and the name of the party inserted in the appropriate column at 2 of the nomination paper.


If the candidate does not represent a registered political party, the column may be left blank or the words “Non-Party” may be entered in it.


4.            Candidate’s Photograph

If a candidate wishes to have his or her photograph included on the ballot paper, they must provide with the nomination paper -


A photograph in digitised format (passport size – 35mm x 45mm); AND

Two identical printed copies of the photograph.


The photograph must be taken not more than 12 months prior to polling day and must be of good quality, in colour and taken to a professional standard, showing the candidate’s full face, head and shoulders only, on a light background (any colour).


Each printed copy of the photograph must have the candidate’s name clearly shown on the back.


If the above requirements are not complied with, the returning officer may not include the photograph on the ballot paper. In these circumstances, or if no photograph is supplied, the space for the candidate’s photograph will be left blank on the ballot paper.


The onus is on the candidate to meet these requirements.


5.            Delivery of Nomination Paper

The completed nomination paper must be delivered to the returning officer in person by the candidate or proposer within the period fixed for the receipt of nominations (ending at 12 noon on the last day for receiving nominations).


6.            Ruling on Nomination Paper

The returning officer will rule on the validity of the nomination paper within one hour of its delivery to him/her and may rule that it is invalid if he/she considers that it is not properly made out or signed. A returning officer may also rule as invalid a nomination paper from a candidate without a certificate of political affiliation who has opted for the assenting alternative referred to at 2 above if he or she considers that the candidate has not complied with the statutory requirements relating to assenting.


                The returning officer is required to object to the candidate’s name if it:


                (a)          is not the name by which the candidate is commonly known, or


                (b)          is misleading and likely to cause confusion, or


                (c)           is unduly long, or


                (d)          contains a political reference.


The returning officer is also required to object to a candidate’s description if it is, in his or her opinion, incorrect, insufficient to identify the candidate or unnecessarily long or which contains a political reference other than, where appropriate, a reference to a public or elected office held, or formerly held, by the candidate or an entry in the nomination paper referred to at 3(a) or (b) above. 


The ruling on the nomination paper may be attended by the candidate and proposer (if any), one other person designated by the candidate (or his/her proposer) and any other person authorised by the returning officer.


7.            Withdrawal of Nomination

A candidate may withdraw his/her nomination up to 12 noon on the day (disregarding any excluded day) after the latest date for receiving nominations. The notice of withdrawal to the returning officer must be signed by the candidate and delivered in person by the candidate or proposer. Where the returning officer is satisfied that a candidate wishes to withdraw and that neither the candidate nor the proposer can attend in person, the returning officer will accept a notice of withdrawal, signed by the candidate and by the person delivering it, which is received by the latest time for withdrawal.


8.            Penalties

There are penalties for:


(a) producing a forged:

(i) nomination paper, or

(ii) certificate of political affiliation

to the returning officer,


(b) without the consent of the person concerned:

(i) nominating such person as a candidate, or

(ii) withdrawing the candidature of such person,


(c) making a false declaration with respect to the eligibility of a candidate for election.


Penalties under the Statutory Declarations Act 1938 in respect of knowingly making a false or misleading statutory declaration are set out at 2 above.


[1] See Part 2 of Fines Act 2010



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