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What happens in an election?

The weeks running up to an election are an exciting time in politics. Politicians are out campaigning, posters for the political parties appear around your streets, opinion polls are released daily to show who is in the lead and the media goes election crazy!

Here are some of the features of an election.

The candidates

A candidate is a person hoping to be elected. At every election there will be a range of different candidates running in your area. They will usually be from a political party, but some people might be independent candidates.

Each political party has their own way of working out who will be a candidate in an election. Once a candidate has been chosen, people in the party will support them and try to get people in your area to vote for them.

To stand as a candidate in an election you need to be aged 18 or over and be a British citizen, a citizen of another Commonwealth country or the Irish Republic. Citizens of other EU member countries can stand in any election in the UK except the UK Parliament general election. Full details about standing for election and nominations can be found by following the link below.

The campaign

In the weeks before an election, parties and candidates run campaigns to encourage you to vote for them.

Candidates and political parties will use materials such as slogans, posters and leaflets to get their message out to the voters.

Election campaigns are regulated to make sure they are run in a fair and open way.

The voters

Turnout is used to describe the number of people who vote in an election. If turnout is high it means that a lot of people have voted. If there is low turnout it means not many people have voted.

Date Published: 28/03/08

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