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At the election count 2019Local Councils are usually elected once every four years and occasionally a by election will be held if a Council seat becomes vacant. As a result of Local Government Reorganisation in Dorset, the next town council election, in May 2024, will be for a term of five years. This is to bring all councils’ electoral cycles into line, and will revert to four-yearly terms from 2029.

Before you decide to stand, gain knowledge of your local Council. We have an informative brochure you can refer to here: Become a Councillor – full information brochure.

You can learn a lot by attending Council meetings as an observer – see our meetings schedule. Nearer the date of the election, the Elections Team at Dorset Council (who administer all local elections in the Dorset Council area) will put up a Notice of Election at public points across the area informing you of where and when to apply to be a candidate.  They also publish details of upcoming elections at

You can stand for election as a councillor if you: 

  • Are 18 years of age or over on the day of nomination;
  • Are British, or a citizen of the Irish Republic, European Union or Commonwealth, and on the day of nomination and election day you are and continue to be an elector for the Town Council, or, you have owned or leased land in the Town for twelve whole months preceding nomination, or, your principal or only place of work during that twelve months has been in the Town, or, you have resided in the Town (or within 4.8km of the town boundary) for twelve whole months. 

You may not stand for election as a parish or town Councillor if: 

  • In the last five years before the day of election you have been sentenced to prison for three months or more (including a suspended sentence) without the option of a fine;
  • You are the subject of a bankruptcy restriction order;
  • You are an employee of the Town Council;
  • You have been disqualified by the Adjudication Panel for England.

Detailed information on how to stand for election is available from the Electoral Commission: 

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