Voting at Common Hall
All Liverymen, but not their spouses or guests, are eligible to attend Common Hall at Guildhall on Midsummer Day (24th June) when two sheriffs are elected by the livery.
[The date will change if the 24th falls on a weekend.]
It is helpful (though not essential – an electoral register is held at the door) to the admission process for each liverymen to have an entry pass, and these are available on request from each Company’s Clerk at no charge.
This is always a very popular event, and liverymen arrive early to secure their seats.
Alhough the proceedings don’t begin until 11.45am, Liverymen start gathering in Guidhall yard from 11.30am and are often seated by11 o’clock .
Who can vote?
Only liverymen clothed prior to May the previous year are eligible to vote, so when the election for the two sheriffs is contested, new liveryman are honour bound not to put their hands up!
[The reason for the “more than 12 months” rule was to prevent liveries packing their membership at the last moment to get their favoured candidate elected.]
How is the election carried out?
The assembled liverymen are invited to display by a show of hands their support for a particular candidate.
Unlike the election of Lord Mayor, here it can be a real election by the livery. The Court of Alderman do not interfere.
If there is more than one non-aldermanic candidate, by a resolution of Common Hall in October 2011, the candidates will be strongly encouraged to accept the result of the count of hands at Guildhall in June and not to demand a further ballot two weeks later, though that does remain their legal right.
To view the formal notice of the Election at Common Hall, please click this link.
When do the Sheriffs take up their role?
They take office in a ceremony at Guildhall on Michaelmas Eve, 28th September, followed by what is known as the Sheriffs’ Breakfast.