Monday 11 November 2019
The States' Assembly & Constitution Committee has published its second policy letter on the arrangements for the 2020 General Election.
In April 2019, the States approved a policy letter setting out changes to legislation to enable an Island-wide Election to be held and also approved the compilation of a new Electoral Roll for the 2020 General Election of People's Deputies. In September 2019, the States agreed "The Reform (Guernsey) (Amendment) (No. 2) Law, 2019".
The second policy letter seeks the States' agreement on a number of areas, including arrangements for the production of a candidate manifesto booklet, the setting of spending limits for candidates and parties, arrangements for polling stations, an electronic vote count and the budget to support the delivery of the General Election.
The President of the States' Assembly & Constitution Committee, Deputy Neil Inder, said:
"Building on our first policy letter, the Committee is returning to the States to seek approval of arrangements to support a successful General Election in 2020.
In the past, the public has only been able to cast their votes on Election Day, or by postal vote. In 2020, the public will be able to vote on the weekend before Election Day at an advance, centrally located polling station. They will also be able to vote the day before the Election, and on Election Day, at either their parish polling station or a 'super' polling station. The opportunity to vote by post still remains and will be heavily promoted in the lead up to the Election.
The Committee is keen to offer an array of options to the public to assist them in voting in the 2020 General Election in a manner and at a time convenient to them".
A number of other innovations are being proposed, including:
- The introduction of electronic vote counting technology to support the vote count being undertaken in an efficient and timely manner.
- The introduction of a candidate manifesto booklet to be delivered to all homes on the Electoral Roll to help voters manage how they receive information about candidates and assist candidates in getting their manifesto out to the public.
- Improvements to the Election website which will include individual pages for each candidate, videos of each candidate, a Q&A section for members of the public to put questions to the candidates, and the ability for the public to create a 'printable shortlist' of candidates.
- Election Observers being invited to observe the 2020 General Election.
The Election in June 2020 will be the first held entirely on an Island-wide basis, with voters being able to vote for whoever they wish to and having up to 38 votes that they can use. Deputy Neil Inder said:
"The Committee appreciates that the introduction of Island-wide voting represents a significant change to the process of General Elections in Guernsey - for the voters, candidates and those who administer the system.
Its proposals seek to ensure voters are fully informed about the Election and the candidates, that candidates are supported in getting their message out to the voters, that an appropriate administrative framework is in place to support the voting process, and that technology is used to assist in the vote count.
In order to support the introduction of this new electoral system, the Committee is requesting a higher budget than in previous years to ensure appropriate resources are allocated in all areas".
The policy letter is being submitted with a request that it be debated at the December States' Meeting to enable funding to be available for 2020. Further to the debate, the Committee will be publishing guidance on the final arrangements, and producing further guidance for prospective candidates and voters in the months leading up to the Election.