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Jersey election statistics 2011

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Ryan Morrison | 16:30 UK time, Monday, 19 September 2011

On 19 October Jersey will go to the polls to vote for Constables, Deputies and Senators on the same day for the first time.

There are 82 candidates up for one of the 34 seats available and 11 politicians, mostly Constables, have been returned unopposed.

Thirteen islanders put themselves forward for one of four senatorial seats.

There are also six Senators who are not up for election as they are halfway through their six year term of office.

Due to a reduction in the number of Senators from 12 to eight there are only four senatorial seats up for grabs in October, bringing the total of States members down to 51 from 53.

The parish of St Helier had a total of 23 candidates for 10 seats across the three districts.

There are 61,987 people registered to vote in the election on 19 October, that is up 12% on 2008.

The number of electors in each parish is up on 2008, with St Helier seeing an increase of about 3,000 on the previous elections.

Electors by Parish

St Helier electors: 18,005 (15,148 in 2008)
St Brelade electors: 7,637 (7,138 in 2008)
St Clement electors: 6,167 (5,436 in 2008)
Grouvile electors: 3,422 (3,276 in 2008)
St John electors: 2,029 (1,906 in 2008)
St Lawrence electors: 3,733 (3,403 in 2008)
St Martin electors: 2,726 (2,526 in 2008)
St Mary electors: 1,227 (1,111 in 2008)
St Ouen electors: 2,990 (2,740 in 2008)
St Peter electors: 3,529 (3,246 in 2008)
St Saviour electors: 8,373 (7,440 in 2008)
Trinity electors: 2,054 (1,792 in 2008)

A slice of Jersey history

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Ryan Morrison | 18:31 UK time, Wednesday, 30 March 2011

There are a number of topics in the island that seem to come round again and again and then when you think you're done - there they are again.

The cost of milk is one, reform of the States of Jersey is another, but one that holds a special place in the hearts of islanders is Fort Regent, and more specifically what to do with it.

I know I have personally written about half a dozen articles in the past eight years on the subject, and still the debate rages on.

Another area is "Temps passé", as the Jersey Evening Post calls it, basically looking back at the way things were.

This week those two debates came together when YouTube user, 08eccleston, posted a video of the Fort Regent cable cars.

The cable cars were opened in 1970 to give people easier access to the Fort from Snow Hill but these were closed in 1991.

The video on YouTube shows the cable cars in use in 1984.

The video shows the queue for the cable cars and you can watch as they enter Fort Regent. At the end you see what the Waterfront looked like when it was actually next to the water.

The dome roof was added tot he building in 1974, Gloucester Hall opened in 1978 and the Queens Hall in 1988.

It isn't the only video showing a slice of Jersey as it once was on YouTube though.

Jersey Archive have posted a presentation on Havre des Pas that includes some interesting photos showing the old railway and more.

What are your memories of old Jersey? Are there long lost shops you miss or places you would love to go back to that have been built on or knocked down?

Is it time to make voting easier?

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Ryan Morrison | 16:20 UK time, Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Deputy Geoff Southern wants an public holiday on election day

Deputy Geoff Southern wants an public holiday on election day

Jersey isn't particularly well known for its sparklingly high election turnouts - at a Constable Election in St Helier where Alvin Aaron stood against Simon Crowcroft, the turnout struggled to reach the mid-20s.

At the last main election in 2008, where Jersey voted for six Senators and a number of Constables - which also included a referendum on Central European Time - turnouts were about 45% - 50% in some Parishes and 34% in St Helier.

Jersey's electoral turnout is near the bottom of the world election turnout table - with the highest in St Mary with 59.5% at the last election.

At the most recent island wide election, where Senator Le Gresley topped the poll, turnout hit just 30%.

Now, Deputy Geoff Southern has come up with an idea he hopes will solve the problem.

He wants to make Election Day, on Wednesday 19 October 2011, a public holiday.

His idea is that, by giving people the day off work, they will be more likely to turn up and vote.

There are potentially many reasons for the low turnout in Jersey - many short term residents not particularly interested in voting, a confusing electoral system and states make-up or even a general lack of interest.

Would giving people the day off be enough to overcome those issues?

The States of Jersey spent about £30 thousand before the election in 2008 to encourage registration and turnout - overall the number of people registering was around 2% up on last time and turnout was about the same.

If investing in awareness and education campaigns hasn't worked and there doesn't seem to be an appetite amongst current States Members for any serious electoral reform - should we be looking at more radical approaches to increasing voter turnout?

Changing results

Jersey has a very low voter turnout

Jersey has a very low voter turnout

A higher turnout could change the face of Jersey politics - for example, if St Helier saw a similar turnout to that of the country parishes the top six may well have been different at the end of the night.

There were 1400 votes between Sarah Ferguson in sixth and Geoff Southern in fifth. Geoff Southern came third in St Helier and Sarah Ferguson ninth - an extra 20% of people voting could have seen sixth and seventh place overall swap round.

So what can be done - or should anything be done - to increase turnout at the islands elections?

Compulsory

The country with the highest election turnout in the world is Australia - they see an average of a 95% turnout across all their elections.

This is mainly due to the fact that since the 1920s voting has been compulsory in Australia - everybody eligible has to register and vote.

Australia isn't alone either, it's also compulsory to vote in several other countries around the world including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Liechtenstein and Singapore - among others.

Belgium sees an average turnout of 91% and Brazil 83%. The islands average electoral turnout is below the USA, Switzerland and Poland.

There are many arguments that could be put against compulsory voting. It could be said that as voting is a civic duty and not a civil right - you shouldn't be forced to carry it out.
While citizens may exercise their legal rights (free speech, voting, etc.) they are not compelled to.

But the evidence on the other hand does show that it gets people voting - would introducing it for say three elections to show people how things work and then dropping it help?

Incentives

Should the law be changed so that people can be rewarded for voting? How about an income tax allowance for people that vote or a direct cash reward?

What about a one month 1% drop in your ITIS payments?

Or is it better to not even stray into the subject of rewards for voting - should it be something you choose to do freely and if you decide you don't want to - you should be allowed to make that decision for yourself.

Making it simpler

Would introducing online voting, mobile phone voting or even just allowing you to vote at any polling station in the island make a difference?

I have voted in every election that I could since I turned 18, apart from the last Senatorial by-election.

I had moved to St Clement just before the election and had to get my children to school in town.

I don't drive and was working until after the polls closed - so getting out to the polling station would have involved getting a bus back to St Clement and then walking to the polling station in the two hours I had before I started work.

In the end I just didn't bother. But if I could have gone to a polling station in town I would have happily voted.

This is something that could benefit more people and encourage them to vote.
With the average working day running from 9am to 5pm with people travelling half an hour either side and polls open from 8am until 8pm - the majority of the polling day is spent at work - usually in town.

So how about this - open up Gloucester Hall at Fort Regent, put one ballot box for each parish or district, a long line of curtains and allow people to fill out the ballot paper and drop it into the relevant box.

Then, at the end of the day a van could take each of the ballot boxes to the relevant parish hall.

This blog post is based on an article I wrote in 2008 looking at whether compulsory voting could be introducing in Jersey.

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