A publishing question
How do I contact a campaign if the “imprint” on a leaflet refers to a shuttered empty shop?
I’ve seen some election material for some candidates in the local government elections in South Tyneside which causes me some concern, and I’d love some further guidance from those more knowledgeable. As a starting point I went to the Electoral Commission website and downloaded this .pdf guide for candidates and agents. I was looking for information about the “imprint” normally found at the foot of a leaflet telling us where we can contact a campaign if we have any concerns about the content, veracity, or authenticity of it.
I found this:
3.20 All election publicity must carry an imprint with details of the full name and
full postal address of the printer and promoter of the material. There is no
longer a requirement to include the details of a publisher; however, if the material
includes the publisher’s details in addition to that of the printer and promoter, this
will be acceptable. The name and address of any person on whose behalf the
material is being published must also be included, if this person is not the
3.21 The intention of imprint requirements is to enable anyone to contact or trace
the source of the material, for example, in case of any complaint or query about its
content. There is no requirement for an imprint address to be a home address, as
long as it is somewhere the person can be contacted.
3.22 In the view of the Commission, an email address would not be acceptable as
an imprint address because an email address is not a physical address, and it is
possible to create one using false or fictitious details.
3.23 There is no specific legislation regarding the use of a Post Office (PO) Box for
the purpose of imprints. Due to the importance of imprints in enabling parties or
candidates to be contacted during the election period, the Commission’s view is that
as good practice, wherever possible, a PO Box should not be used. This is because
they do not allow the originator of the material to be quickly contacted to request
further information or in the event of a complaint, nor aid transparency
The leaflet that I am looking at has an address which on investigation turns out to be a shop which has stood empty for years, shuttered, locked, and with no access to a letterbox or letterflap. How could one conceivably say hand deliver a letter to this address to quickly contact the originator?
Additionally the Electoral Commission gives guidance on the use of an imprint for websites and electronic media:
3.29 Any website that refers to an election or candidate(s) should have an imprint
as a matter of good practice. Further, any posters that are available for download
from such a website should also carry an imprint, such as ‘printed and promoted on
I know of at least one local candidate in South Shields who has used a social networking site specifically to ask voters in a particular ward to vote for him/her, yet there is no sign of an imprint on the site. Another in South Tyneside displays an imprint on a blog but not on a social networking site which also encourages people to vote for the candidate.
In this modern digital age communication facilities have moved miles ahead of the relevant legislation, I’d appreciate any input from those with greater legal knowledge, I think that the Electoral Commission cannot regulate these things but can only offer guidance. Anybody know the exact legal status of imprints?