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Resource: How to write an election address

An election address will help you communicate your message to CWU members and provide you with an opportunity to inform voting members about you.

The idea of an election address is to communicate:

  • Your aims and objectives.
  • Your values and beliefs.
  • What you are hoping to bring to the role.
  • Why you are running for this particular role


Election Address Contents

A good approach to writing the contents your election address is to use SMART.

S – Specific: Be specific, what is it you want to do?

M – Measure: How will you measure progress?

A – Achievable – How will you accomplish your goals?

R – Realistic – Can you realistically achieve your goal?

T– Time – When exactly do you aim to accomplish your goal?


Using this method to write an election address allows you to communicate your ideas and intentions in a well-structured and clear way. It also communicates to voting members how you plan to achieve your aims and goals.

For example, it could be that you want to stand for an equality officer’s role and intend to improve engagement between the local union and the membership on equality issues. To do so you want to introduce a robust schedule of workplace union meetings and create a local CWU membership WhatsApp group to allow members to have the space to have better conversations about work issues and union business.  You might choose to measure your goals by stating that you want to acquire additional knowledge on equality issues or acquire additional skills to make meetings more engaging. You may even intend to make meetings more accessible by changing meeting locations and times so all members have the opportunity to participate.

Explaining how you would accomplish your goals and setting out realistic timescales allows voting members to see how you plan to achieve your aims and helps builds relationships of confidence and trust.

Communicate Facts not Fiction

It is really important that the contents of your election address is factual and that any information you choose to use in your election address has been obtained in a legitimate way. Basing ideas on hearsay or unreliable sources will not stand you in good stead.

An election address can be written in many different forms. Using too many words and not being clear on what you are saying may confuse CWU members, so it’s important that you focus on the points you want to make and clear out the clutter in your writing.

Look for needless words you can delete and lengthy phrases you can shorten.  Always ask yourself? Does this sentence or paragraph add any value to what I am trying to communicate? Remember you only have a limit number of words (300 words) so every word counts.

Be Inclusive

The most important thing you should consider when writing your election address is the members you are hoping to represent.

Remember CWU members experiences in the workplace and wider society vary because of social, cultural, structural and other differences. So think about the disparities your members face and how some issues impact disproportionality on particular groups.

A good place to begin is to identify the issues all members have in common. You can then start thinking about the bigger issues that affect people differently, so always consider running ideas with different groups of members such as women, disabled members, BAME members and members from the LGBT+ community. This will help you get a more in-depth understanding of the issues that affect the wider membership.

Do not second guess what workers needs and interests are. Always consult with the membership if you are unsure.

Use the right language

Using the right language in an election address is also an important factor to consider.

Try not to over complicate what you are trying to say by using complex words, slang or informal language.

Remember, the CWU membership is diverse, so make sure everyone can read and understand what it is you are trying to say.

A good way to check if you have used the right language is to ask a range of different people to read through your draft election address to see if it make sense to them, ask them to critique it and make changes where necessary.

Everyone interprets words differently so try so keep your election address simple, concise and straightforward.

Election Photo

Some branches allow candidates to provide a photograph in their election address so voting members can see who they are voting for. If this is a requirement in your branch consider your choice of photo carefully. An election photo can send out a strong, positive message or a bad, negative message.

Start by taking a few photos of yourself, preferably at work and in your work wear.  Whatever photo you choose make sure you look friendly and approachable.

Using a group photo with lots of other people in the shot may confuse voting members of who is standing for the election, so always try to use a head shot photo or a photo where you are highly featured so voters know who you are and who they are voting for.

You also want to make sure that the photo is of high quality and does not contain any symbols that associate you with other clubs or associations such as football clubs as this can encourage or discourage members voting for the wrong reasons.

Election biographical details

Some branches also allow candidates to list their biographical details.

Biographical details usually appear before the election address and is basically a list of your previous experiences, activities and training.

Biographical details can include, previous positions you may have held in the union, training you have undertaken or union events you may have attended. It could be that you have worked as a local councillor or help out in your local community. Providing these details help voting members understand what experience you have and gives them some background information about you.

Remember always check your CWU branch rule book or speak to your branch secretary about election address requirements and word counts. You can obtain contact details for your branch secretary here.