Nomination rules in elections regulate the conditions under which a candidate or political party is entitled to stand for election. The right to stand for election is sometimes called passive suffrage, as distinct from active suffrage, which is the right to vote. The criteria to stand as a candidate depends on the individual legal system. They may include the age of a candidate, citizenship, endorsement by a political party and profession. Laws restrictions, such as competence or moral aptitude, can be used in a discriminatory manner. Restrictive and discriminatory nomination rules can impact the civil rights of candidates, political parties, and voters.
In some jurisdictions a candidate or party must not only be nominated but also has to pass separate rules in order to be listed on the ballot paper. In the United States, this is called ballot access.
- New South Wales
- South Australia
- Western Australia
- Northern Territory
- Australian Capital Territory
Canadians have a constitutional right to stand for election to the federal Parliament and to the provincial legislatures.
Candidates in elections to the House of Commons must obtain a number of signatures from the riding they are standing in – either 50 or 100 depending on the riding. They must also pay a deposit of CAD $1000, which can be reclaimed only if the candidate's official agent submits the Candidate's Electoral Campaign Return and related documents to the Chief Electoral Officer and unused official tax receipts to the returning officer within the time prescribed.
Nomination rules are similar in each of the ten provinces.
EU member states may set their own rules on ballot access in elections to the European Parliament. In Denmark, Germany, Greece, Estonia, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the Czech Republic, candidates must be nominated by political parties. In the other member states, a specified number of signatures is needed. In the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, a deposit is required as well as signatures. In the Republic of Ireland, candidates may be nominated either by a registered political party or by 60 members of the relevant electorate.
Candidates for the office of President of the Republic require 500 signatures of elected individuals (mayors, MPs, regional councillors).
Candidates for election to the European Parliament, the Riksdag, county councils or municipal councils stand on the ballots of their respective parties. Parties can have one or several lists. The so-called "free right of nomination" (fri nomineringsrätt) means that if a party has not protected its party label, anyone can set up a ballot for that party. This means that people could be elected for a party who do not have the support of the people behind the party. To avoid this, the party must apply for a protected label. There are no regulations for how a party whose party label isn't protected must be organised. Forming a party or running in the election is thus comparatively easy, and there have been occasions where a single individual has put up dozens of different ballots with various more or less frivolous names and himself as the only candidate. Parties pay for their own ballots unless they have received more than 1 percent of the vote in one of the last two Riksdag elections, in which case the Elections Authority pays. (Further, parties that have received more than 1 percent of the vote in one of the last two elections to the European Parliament get their ballots paid for in European elections as well.) The Elections Authority makes sure, however, that there are blank ballots where voters can write in the name of the party they want to vote for.
To be given a protected label, a party must have a constitution, a board, and must decide on its name and on applying for protected label status with the Swedish Central Elections Authority. It must also appoint someone to act on its behalf when presenting the application to the Elections Authority. These decisions must be laid down in a protocol. It must also require a number of signatures from eligible voters: 50 for municipal elections, 150 for county council elections, and 1,500 for elections to the Riksdag or the European Parliament. Finally, the name of the party must not be too close to the name of an already protected party label in order to avoid confusion.
A party with a protected label is protected against ballots with party labels that are confusingly similar to the party's own, or ballots with other candidates than those the party reports. (This does not hold for other areas than the one where the party is running - hence there can be and there are completely separate parties with the same name in different municipalities and county councils.) In return, it must ensure that its candidates have agreed in writing to run for the party.
The following are the basic nomination rules for an individual candidate (whether Independent, or associated with a political party). To use a party name (and logo) a candidate must be authorised by a registered political party, or else they may stand as 'Independent' or with no description.
A candidate for election to the United Kingdom Parliament, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly or Northern Ireland assembly requires the signed assent of ten registered electors, plus a deposit of £500 which is forfeited if the candidate wins less than 5% of the vote.
A list of candidates for election in a European Parliament constituency does not require the assent of any electors but must pay a deposit of £5,000, which is forfeited if that list wins less than 2.5% of the vote.
A candidate for local government office does not need to pay a deposit (except for mayoral elections, for which the deposit is £500), but needs the assent of either two registered electors (for parish or town elections) or ten registered electors (for all other local elections).
Ballot access in the United States varies widely among the various states.
- "Criteria to stand as a candidate — ACE Electoral Knowledge Network". Aceproject.org. 2010-09-03. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
- "General Information: Backgrounders", Elections Canada (accessed 22 September 2008).
- "European Parliament Fact Sheets: 1.3.4. The European Parliament: electoral procedures", European Parliament (accessed 22 September 2008).
- "Nomination of Candidates for election to the European Parliament". Citizensinformation.ie. 2008-05-01. Archived from the original on 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
- "Registrera partibeteckning". Val.se. 2012-07-12. Archived from the original on 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2012-10-29.