Citizens Advice Bureau

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Elections and voting ( 7.3.1 )

LOCAL INFORMATION
7.3.1
Elections and voting

 

Extent:     Jersey
Updated:  21 June 2016
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Words you may need to know

 

Election - an organized event at which somebody is chosen by vote for something, especially a public office such as a Politician

Senator - this is a person who stands for a position in the States on an island - wide mandate .  That means that everyone in the island, not just a Parish votes them into power.

Contested - there is a contest (or competition) to see who is elected/ wins the highest votes.

Deputies - a Deputy is someone who is elected in a Parish to represent the people in that district

Constables (or Connétables) – a person who is elected to represent the Parish in the States but who also is in charge of parish matters like road maintenance and refuse collection as well as the Honorary Police.

By-elections - an election held half- way through a term, perhaps because someone has resigned or died

Centeniers, and Honorary Officers - these are members of the public who put themselves forward to help police the island's laws

British subject - someone who lives in a country where the Queen is the Head of State

Compulsorily - required by law or an authority. Made to do something

Guardianship order - someone has been appointed to look after your affairs because it is thought you are not able to.

Curator - keeper of various affairs such as bank books, property. A Guardianship order often gives curator rights

Movable or immovable - this refers to property under Jersey Law. Moveable is paintings, jewellery, bank accounts, shares, cars and any item which is not land. Immoveable is land and property.

Elector - someone who votes in elections

Disqualification - something you are not allowed to do, you are disqualified

Term – a fixed period of time – in this case the period of time the person’s time in office lasts 

 

 ALL INFORMATION ABOUT REGISTERING TO VOTE, STANDING FOR ELECTION, INFORMATION ABOUT THE CANDIDATES AND WHERE AND HOW TO VOTE IS AVAILABLE AT www.vote.je 

 Information about some matters also covered in the website is given below:

When are elections held in Jersey

The elections for Senators, Connétables and Deputies are held on the same day. From May 2018, all three types of States member will serve for a 4 year term of office.

By-elections are held when a States member resigns, dies, is removed from office, or is elected to another office in mid-term, for example a Deputy may be elected Senator before the end of their term, resulting in a by-election for Deputy.

Centeniers, and Honorary Officers are elected for a term of three years, and these elections can be held in any month.

Standing for Election

If you want to stand for election as a Senator, Deputy or Connétable you must:

·        be at least 18 years old

·        be a British citizen who has been -

(a) resident in Jersey for at least 2 years up to and including the day of the election, or
(b) resident in Jersey for 6 months up to and including the day of the election, as well as a total period of 5 years previously

If you want to stand for election as a Connétable you also need to live in the parish where you want to stand as a candidate (unless you want to stand in St. Helier, in which case you just have to be a ratepayer in the parish of St. Helier).

 Disqualification for Office 

Any person who:

           holds any paid office or other place of profit under the Crown;

           is a member of the States of Jersey Police Force;

           is compulsorily held or subject to a guardianship order under the Mental Health
            (Jersey) Law 1969;

           has a curator of his or her person or property;

           has a lawyer without whom they may not act in matters movable or immovable;

           has become bankrupt or made a composition or arrangement with his or her creditors;

           has been convicted of an offence under the Corruption (Jersey) Law 2006 by virtue of
            that person being, within the meaning of that Law, a public official or a member,
            officer or employee of a public body;

           or within the 7 years prior to, or since his or her election, has been convicted, whether in Jersey or elsewhere, of any offence and ordered to be imprisoned for a period of not less than 3 months, without the option of a fine.

Who may stand for election as Centenier, or other Honorary Officer of a Parish

Any person who is a British subject having reached the age of twenty and not being older than sixty-nine years on the date of the nomination. A person can only qualify for office, if they are an elector of the Parish, a ratepayer (more than fifty quarters) or are a Mandataire for a company (this only applies to the Parish of St Helier)

Nomination papers

If you decide to stand for election you need to complete a nomination form and, if you are standing for the office of Senator or Deputy, a declaration of convictions.  See website.

The cost of standing for election

The Public Elections (Expenditure and Donations) (Jersey) Law 2014 sets out limits on the amount that candidates can spend when standing for election. The Law also requires candidates to declare the amount they have spent and what donations they received after the elections. Non- compliance is a criminal offence.

Rules are also set out in the Law for third parties who campaign for or against candidates without the knowledge or agreement of those candidates.

The expenditure limit for Senatorial candidates in the October 2014 elections was £9,679.29.

Who is entitled to vote in Jersey

Any person aged over 16 whose name appears on the Electoral Register can vote in public elections in Jersey.

The Electoral Register

Under the Public Elections (Jersey) Law 2002, Article 5 provides that a person is entitled on a particular day to have their name included on the electoral register for an electoral district on that day if:

  • the person is at least 16 years old;
  • the person is ordinarily resident in that electoral district:
  • and the person has been:-
  • ordinarily resident in the Island for a period of at least two years up to and including that day; or
  • ordinarily resident in the Island for a period of at least six months up to and including that day, as well as having been ordinarily resident in the Island at any time for an additional period of, or for additional periods that total, at least five years.
  • A person is not entitled to have their name included on the electoral registers for more than one electoral district at the same time.

Registration on the Electoral Register

Application forms are sent to every unit of living accommodation by the Constable of the Parish. These should be completed to include every resident of the property who is over the age of 16. The forms should be returned to the Parish Hall by a date advertised in the Jersey Gazette by the Constable. Each Constable is required to prepare by September, a separate electoral register for each electoral district in the Parish.

The Draft Electoral Register compiled by the Parish from these returns is available for public inspection in the Parish Halls. A person may only vote in a public election if their name appears on the relevant electoral register.

People whose names have not been included can ask for them to be added at any time if they fulfil the requirements to be eligible to vote. Incorrect information can be amended at this time also.

Failure to complete and send back the Electoral Register Franchise form

The penalty for not completing and returning the form can be a £500 fine. It is, however, very rare for prosecutions to be brought as it is difficult to prove that the parishioner did not attempt to deliver the completed form (e.g. it may have been lost in the post). The last prosecution in St Helier was in 1984.

Where do you vote

In the case of Parish elections for Constable or Centenier the polling station is normally the Parish Hall.

In public elections to the States, polling stations will be set up in the electoral districts in the larger parishes, and voters must attend the station linked to the electoral district in which they live. See 7.3.1.L1 for electoral districts.

Voting before election day

Pre- poll voting

 

Anyone who is registered to vote can pre-poll vote in the weeks leading up to an election.

For 3 weeks before an election is held, a pre-poll voting station will be set up in town during the week and, in States Assembly elections, out-of-town voting stations will be open on Saturdays to make it easier for you to vote.

Postal vote

If you are registered to vote and will be out of the Island on election day you can apply for a postal vote. 

The next elections to the States Assembly will be held in May 2018.

If you are registered to vote you will be able to vote by post if:

·        You will be out of the Island during the hours of polling; or

·        You have registered to vote, but your name and address have been deliberately omitted from the electoral register because there is a risk or threat of harm to you.

To receive a postal vote, you will need to complete an application form and return it to the Judicial Greffe, Royal Court House, Royal Square, St. Helier, JE1 1JG, by no later than the date published on the form.

When the Judicial Greffe receives your application, they will send you everything that you need to cast your vote:

1.     You will receive your ballot papers and a ballot paper envelope. Mark an ‘x’ next to the people you want to vote for then fold the ballot papers and put them inside the ballot paper envelope.

2.     Fill out and sign the declaration of identity form.

3.     Put the ballot paper envelope and the declaration of identity form inside the return envelope and post it back to the Judicial Greffe in time to meet the published deadline.

You must return your postal voting ballot envelope to the Judicial Greffe, Royal Court House, Royal Square, St. Helier, JE1 1JG, by no later than the published deadline.

If you are ill, disabled or have difficulty reading and writing

Anyone who is ill or disabled or has difficulty reading or writing and is registered to vote can vote before or on election day. 

If you fall ill on election day and cannot make it to your polling station, you can vote by using a ‘sick vote’. To use a ‘sick vote’ contact your Parish Hall as soon as possible on election day and they will send an official to you to take your vote.

If you know you will not be able to go to your polling station to vote on election day then you can arrange to vote in advance by arranging a home visit. Telephone your Parish Hall or download and complete an application form for a pre-poll home visit and return it to the Judicial Greffe, Royal Court House, Royal Square, St. Helier, JE1 1JG.

Voting on election day

If you are registered to vote, you can vote on Election Day in the parish you are registered in. 

The next elections to the States Assembly will take place in 2018.

Polling station opening hours will be published on vote.je as soon as the election date has been set.

When you go to vote you will need to take photographic identification with you, such as a driving licence or a passport. You will be greeted by staff who will mark your name off on the electoral register and give you your ballot papers. You will then be able to go to the voting booth to cast your vote by putting an ‘x’ beside the name of your preferred candidate. You will be asked to place your ballot paper into the ballot box.

Parish officials will be at the polling station and will be able to help you if you have any questions.