First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to extend thanks to the Association of Green Councillors who wrote the guide “How to Win Local Elections” which most of this advice is taken from. As a show of appreciation, I will not be taking large swathes of their advice and giving it away and will instead be putting into my own words the general things they say in this guide. If you would like to get this guide I believe you must be a Green Party member and go to this Association of Green Councillors website where you are able to purchase it. It costs £13.50 and also gives you a years membership to the AGC which gives further advice on how to get elected as well as election material. There are other books to help people win elections such as 101 ways to win an election as well as websites designed to help people win elections such as This is not a guide but a few pointers from someone who has never won an election before. Remember this. Now onto actually how to win a local election. Most of this information will be pertinent for parties trying to take seats rather than retain them.

~ Mark

Choosing your target:

  • Size of Majority – Big majority may not always be a bad thing – creating complacency within campaigning of incumbents making strong campaigning very effective to swing these voters.
  • Incumbent – Current majority party can take big hit for mistakes in local area and voters may take it out in the ballot box. Independents are a different kettle of fish and can be representatives for the people rather than the party. Minority party may be held to not holding the majority party to account or opposing things that are popular.
  • Resources – Choose the amount of wards to fight for that you can afford and have the manpower for. If you try to win more than your party can physically campaign for then you may end up losing all of them rather than winning a few.


  • Long term campaigning is sometimes more successful than only election time campaigning as it shows a constant commitment to helping the community, this is particularly pertinent in local elections. Find out what your target ward members care about and what they want to do about it. If this aligns with your policies, concentrate on that however it takes time to find out what these big issues are.
  • If you know what the local issues are then concentrate on them when out canvassing, if not, concentrate on what the issues that are the most important to you.
  • Try to get the local party involved to use their manpower, particularly with knocking on doors and spreading the word about your candidacy. Turnout in Guildford for the County Council elections in 2013 was only 28%. The more people turnout to vote, the stronger our democracy is as more people get their voices heard and if more people are spoken to, they are more likely to vote.
  • Active campaigning is more effective than passive campaigning, if people cared enough to come to a stall then they would care enough to vote.
  • Focus on the candidates and the local issues rather than the party and a local manifesto. The message needs to be driven home. If there is a serious possibility of your party winning control or changing control then a plan needs to be devised on what to do if that happens, if not, then worry about getting that extra ward rather than the unlikely event that your party takes control.
  • Regular material. Further on from the point about getting people involved, regular material will also push people out to vote and it is difficult to have too much. However, resources will be strained by too many leaflets and so they need to be concentrated in the target ward(s).

Get the vote out

  • On election day and before you need to ensure that your voters are going to go out and vote. Turnout is one of the most important things in Policy Guildford’s opinion because a higher turnout helps our democracy.
  • You can do this by knocking on doors on the days leading up to the election day, and encourage them to come out.
  • Before the deadline encourage people to register to vote so that even if they don’t vote this time (like 30-40% of people do (1918 is first turnout numberss)), they can and might next time.

That’s all for now but if you have any questions, leave a comment down below or Contact Us.