Douzaines voice concerns over island-wide voting referendum

PARISHES have spoken out against a five-option island-wide voting referendum.


The draft ballot sent out by the States Assembly & Constitution Committee puts forward choices for how island-wide voting could be accomplished, with people asked to rank them in order of preference.

The douzaines were asked to give their comments and many have voiced concerns.

Forest constable Christine Cowling said the douzaine was not in favour of island-wide voting generally and was happy to keep the status quo.

‘We feel parishioners are perfectly able and capable of selecting the right candidates for their area,’ she said.

‘When we had that questionnaire [the draft ballot form] come through there was definitely a view that they didn’t know how to proceed and they wanted us to come up with ideas,’ she said.

‘I think that putting island-wide voting into practice is practically impossible.’

Proposals for the referendum are expected to be debated by the States in June.

Comments for: "Douzaines voice concerns over island-wide voting referendum"


There we go, the first nail in the coffin, This subject has been talked about for years now do something positive about it.

Ross Le Brun

The douzaines want to keep the status quo!? There's a surprise! No one else does!

What we have now is not working very well is it and keeping the status quo keeps us in a mess!

Also, voting for who they want in their area? This is the problem. Voted by only a small proportion of the island yet then go on to have power over the whole island when they don't have the mandate for it! Lots of people refuse to even register to vote because the current system treats us like children where we are told who we can and can't vote for and look what it's done to Guernsey.....

Some of the reasoning behind not implementing full island wide voting are just exactly the same issues happening now like "I won't use all my votes". Does every voter use all their votes now? No...

Or, "the hustings venue would not be able to accommodate everyone".

Which districts hustings venue can hold all its voters now? In the Castel there was 4,469 registered voters but the Les Beaucamps school venue only held a few hundred!

"Voters won't read all the manifestos". Most already don't read all the manifestos and only vote for who they know. They don't even want to talk to candidates when given the opportunity. I stood last year and invited everyone to my own seperate hustings, the only candidate to ever do this and only about 25 attended which by the way was about 23 more than turned up at the Castel surgery the very next day to see 12 candidates! Not joking, just 2 people turned up! I also announced at the real hustings I'd be at the same place for an hour (Richmond kiosk) every day up to the election and again only a handful turned up. Most of the Castel voters are retired and have plenty of time on their hands. Barry Paint admitted he didn't do any doorsteps. Voters know who they want to vote for already. They don't want to investigate what other new/unkown candidates could offer (at least in the Castel). It would be a futile excericise for some hardcore voters as they know how they will vote BUT the thing that scares gov is the unpredictability of the vote if all those who have been disengaged from politics and disenfranchised by how poor our government has performed, how politicians who made huge losses financially like with the PFOS joke got voted back in were suddenly given a choice and encouraged to register for the first time, how will they vote?

While I'm at it... Another thing that seems purposeful to keep those disenfranchised from voting is the ridiculous electoral roll registration process. Why aren't we automatically enrolled for life? Why do we have to re register every 4 years? So the predictable demographic of hard core voters can be read like a book to keep the status quo. We have a social security number for life, we don't need to get a new one for every job!


Option A - expecting a voter to cast up to 38 votes is too cumbersome.

Option B - Deputies serving for 6 years is too long.

Option C - Half the States being elected every two years hinders continuity and getting on with the job in hand.

Option E - Effectively what we've got now and people want to change.

Hence, Option D seems the only workable option.


The Douzaine and Christine Cowling may not be in favour of It, but its not down to them and their personal views, we live in a democratic society and the Douzaine should do the publics will.

Island Wide Voting

I wonder if the GEP would be so kind as to re-publish the current voting figures for each of the island douzaines so that such sweeping pronouncements can be put into perspective

I tried to Google Mrs Cowling's Forest results without success.Too insignificant to bother with I suspect



If memory serves (and I stand to be corrected) pretty much every douzaine election has a voter turnout below 10%. I'd say that quite accurately puts this into perspective.


It seems from the article that actually only the Forest isn't happy with IWV, the other Douzaines seem happy with IWV but with a yes or no option voting rather than several options.

Speaking to friends at several Douzaines, they are all happy to give up their time to man the Polling Stations every two or four years as they were requested apparently. Don't be so hard on the Douzaines, they as others have mentioned give their time for free with a good heart. Not everything is reported fairly in the Press that's a fact!


I've no doubt many in the Douzaines do work hard but you cannot escape the fact there is a huge disconnect between the voting public and the Douzaines. Most of the time parish matters seem to go on below the radar with very little effort made to raise public awareness. Turnout for parish elections is horrendous and whilst there is an argument that the public have a responsibility to get involved, I can only ever remember once being canvassed by someone who was trying to get elected to the Douzaine. I bet if you asked most islanders who their Douzaine representatives were or what the Douzaine actually did, most people wouldn't have the foggiest idea.


Putting aside what the douzaines want or don't want... the reason to nominate five different options is a clear attempt to sabotage the whole referendum !!

Shame on you deputies who are proposing this fiasco !!

There should be a simple yes or no choice - not five different choices in order to confuse the voting public.

It is clear the deputies who are proposing this are the ones who do not want to change the status quo !

Shame on you ! Disgraceful !!

Island Wide Voting

The deputies who are proposing this skullduggery are ..

Matt Fallaize Vale

Michelle Le Clerc PP North

Mark Dorey Castel

Peter Roffey South East

Lindsay de Sausmarez South East

Presumably they are all in favour of the status quo and a recorded vote is essential when this is debated so that the snowflakes can be identified and dealt with accordingly when the time comes


My old mate Trev would have said "A la Lanterne"...!!

Shane Langlois

When anybody suggests having to choose thirty-eight candidates out of ninety or so at a General Election is too much to ask they are told that is an insult to the intelligence of the electorate. Yet in a straightforward referendum “five different options is a clear attempt…to confuse the voting public”??

Donkey Boiler

No, it is not an attempt to confuse them, it is an attempt to DIVIDE them. That is to say, to lessen those that will vote for straight IWV, and not some watered down version. And well you know it.

Island Wide Voting

Donkey Boiler

It certainly looks that way

Awaiting clarification on the figure of 40% required

Is that a minimum 40% response from the whole island ? (YB's 2014 Traffic consultation response was probably less than 1% of driving licence holders and the EDBoard's consultation was unfortunately answered by completely the wrong people)

.... OR is 40% the minimum figure required for the 'winning selection' in order to change from the status quo of being allowed to vote for a mere handful of the Assembly members?


Change the Status Que?? Francis Rossi won't be happy about that.


Surely a straight 'yes' or 'no' referendum will just offer a choice of staying with what we've got now or going with the scenario of 90-odd candidates, 90-odd manifestoes, huge and unwieldy hustings meetings and voters being asked to cast up to 38 votes? It therefore seems entirely reasonable to me to offer the public a bit more choice.

Admittedly some of those suggested options are not great - i.e. deputies serving for six years, potentially half of the States changing every two years or voters being asked to plough through 90-odd candidates to select 38. Hence, given that 5-option choice, I can only see Option D as being a workable alternative to retaining the status quo ("Whatever you want, whatever you like, whatever you do, you pay your money and make your choice." Rossi/Parfitt).


On the contrary... if it was a straight yes or no vote then it could have taken place ages ago and the committee could have been working on finding the best solution. If the referendum had been a negative decision then case closed and move on... but no they want to elaborate and confuse the matter so nothing gets decided.

States Deputies, especially the longer serving ones, inherently do not want change and prefer to maintain the status quo. That way they can go on debating this and that, paying consultants for more research and pass their 4 year terms without having taken any responsibility at all except for maintaining the status quo.


I see that Deputy Fallaize has had a letter published in the press... to which I have just posted this reply...

With all due respect, what the people wanted was a referendum on island wide voting : not a re-drawing or enlarging of electoral boundaries, or an extension in the time served by a deputy.

The referendum should have been a straight "yes" or "no" vote - exactly in the same way that referendums are held all over the world. That way it could have taken place weeks, or even months, ago.

If the result had been a "no", then fair enough, case closed and move on.

If the result had been a "yes", then your committee should have been busy proposing the best solution to be ready in time by the election of 2020.

By proposing 5 different options, some of which are not island-wide voting concepts, you are clearly confusing the matter, shall cause the referendum to fail and will result in no changes being made by 2020.

Please tell me that this is not a deliberate plan to sabotage the referendum !!

Election Issues

States of Deliberation, Wednesday 8th July 2015

Deputy Fallaize

"I am a supporter of putting electoral reform to a referendum, .......But the only way of holding a referendum on electoral reform is for the States to decide one system of election, subject to it being approved in a referendum. We CANNOT hold a multiple choice referendum, because the States will then, in order to give effect to the outcome of the referendum, the States will find themselves having to debate the issue all over again. It will be a complete nonsense"

"My view on Island-wide voting has moved from scepticism to, frankly, complete indifference"

So, how can one of the options in the 'multiple choice' referendum.... splitting the island into four constituencies be even considered for island-wide voting?

This is a deliberate plan to sabotage the referendum!


The wonderfully politically astute Matt Fallaize. The man who dreamed up the concept of an even number of States members for his hopeless new system of government, a brilliant plan which meant the first vote was tied and was decided only by a very dodgy spoiled paper, maybe his own to spare his blushes.. Not to be trusted with anything other than writing a resignation letter. And soon.


It's about time all this nonsense about the need for IWV was abandoned.

Historically, Guernsey has always declared apathy in the field of local politics and there is no reason to suppose that this will change in the immediate future.

The vociferous minority in favour of IWV must surely be aware that they are fighting a losing battle in order to awaken interest in the political scene.

For instance, in the two St Peter Port Districts in the 2016 General Election (both heavily populated) the percentage of turn-out was 65% and 63% respectively. Elsewhere the turn-out averaged about 73%.

Yet those advocating IWV expect voters to awaken such a surge of interest, that they will be prepared to wade through perhaps up to a 100 manifestos before selecting their choices.

I respectfully suggest that there is simply no evidence to date that the opportunity of IWV is the panacea for which the Island awaits.


How do you know that those who support IWV are in the minority ?

Do you have any evidence to back up that claim ?

I think not. Bear in mind that, previously, when the States were looking into this issue, a public consultation in 2010, with over 7000 responses, clearly indicated an interest in IWV.

And it seems to me that a lot of would-be deputies claim to be in favour of IWV, along with other pet fancies of the public such as "no paid parking" etc, in order to garner support from the electorate, ( only for quite a few of them, once elected, to furtively act against the concept ).

But maybe you are right. But the only way to find out is a straight yes/no referendum. If you are right, and the no vote wins, then one does not have to waste any more time investigating different proposals. But if the yes vote wins, then the deputies can work on a solution.

A yes / no vote could have taken place a long time ago. But it seems to me that a lot of deputies are afraid of that referendum.


Bringing in IWV may not result in a surge of interest in local politics or a huge increase in voter turnout but that doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do.

One of the key principles behind IWV is to give those people who do bother to vote the ability to choose all their elected representatives. At the moment, all a voter can do is help elect a handful of individuals who - even if they did club together in the States - could not make any decisions or implement policy.

In a system without party politics IWV is essential to provide the electorate with representative democracy.



You will obviously be amazed to learn that I have the evidence of many decades of ingrained voter apathy, to prove that the authors of ANY proposed change to the current system, are bound to be in a minority.

That is not to say I would be against IWV provided there was evidence that the issue was of real interest to anyone other than the proposers.

You clearly rush into print without absorbing the statistics and prognosis I submitted earlier........a typical failing by the vociferous minority on any subject under review. Read it again.


Tell me something Arjay : are you a failed candidate in past island elections ? If you are, then that would explain to a certain extent your rather arrogant and condescending remarks. Am I so stupid and ignorant that I need to re-read you previous post ? Have I rushed into print before absorbing your statistics ?

What statistics ?? You only mention three figures relating to voter turn out at the last general election on the island.

You obviously feel that voter turn out is low in Guernsey and you judge the local electorate to be apathetic. Yet voter turn out in Guernsey is on par with most of the western world. Indeed, voter turn out actually rose from 2012 to 2016 - even though the number of seats had gone down and the number of candidates had risen. Over 20000 persons bothered to go out and vote - which is not something to be sneered or mocked at. Please don't tell me that you are indeed a failed election candidate and you are labeling the Guernsey voters as being apathetic because not enough of them turned out to vote for you.

You claim that you are not against the concept of IWV provided there was evidence of a real interest - and I told you that the States received 7000 responses in their public consultation seven years ago and they saw a definite interest. It is all there in the past States meetings of 2011. And yet whilst you claim you would not be against the concept - your opening sentence of your post of yesterday clearly shows that you are dead set against it !!

And you still can not support, with any evidence, your assumption that those in favour of IWV are in the minority. You have also insinuated that the number of candidates if IWV is introduced could be as many as 100. But you have not provided any evidence as to why there would be so many candidates, when in the past two elections the number of candidates was 78 and 81. Why would IWV cause an increase of 25 % in the number of candidates ?

One could argue that the number of candidates might actually drop as certain individuals might see how hopeless their chances of being elected become. And one could also argue as to why one has to have 38 seats in the house anyway - before 2004, was it not just 33 ? Could 33 be whittled down further to say 23 or 25 ? Could half of those be elected at one time, whilst the other half two years later ? Just a couple of suggestions... there are, of course, many more ideas out there that could be explored in order to find the right solution. Bear in mind that many years ago, when there were fewer deputies, the vast majority of deputies managed other businesses or were retired, whereas, nowadays, a much greater percentage of the deputies can be considered "career politicians" who have no other occupation and who should, therefore, be able to devote much more time to the job of being a deputy than in days gone by.

But all of this is irrelevant for the time being... the question that should be posed now is a simple "yes" or "no" choice in the referendum and then we can see which option is preferred. It might be that the electorate decide against the concept of IWV. It might be that the "yes" vote win an overwhelming decision. What if they won with an 85 % majority, with a turn out of, say, 73 %. Would you then admit that the supporters of IWV were not in the minority ?

Until that happens we can not determine how wide-spread the support for IWV is : but what we can assume is that having a multi-choice style of referendum will cause more chaos and confusion with nothing being gained at all.


If any acquaintance of mine ever wondered the meaning of "vociferous" I would advise them to read the "written diarrhoea" which emanates from your pen.

From time immemorial, Guernsey-men have shown a distinct disinterest in local politics let alone the chore of actually turning out to vote.

It may interest you to know that after the Liberation of the Island in 1945, it was only after a UK Parliamentary body of some sort visited the Island for consultations, that reforms were introduced in the reconstitution of a States of Deliberation.

Every so often, of course, do-gooders seek to encourage increased militancy in local politics, especially parochial affairs. To little avail, I'm afraid.

Rest assured, you IWV would-be purveyors are in a minority in the foreseeable future and unless or until some terrible catastrophe arose to affect every single Islander of voting age, I can't see this changing.

Finally, your attempt to introduce more personal invective and insults only weakens your case and implies paranoia. You simply must learn to accept the status quo. I do.


Ah ha... seems I touched a nerve there, eh !

You find my comments insulting ? Why ? I was just asking a question - the question whether you are a failed would-be deputy : it would, after all, explain your embittered and disgruntled views of the island's electorate and on others who would like to seek improvements in the electoral system.

Candidates who fail in any election should not feel disheartened or angry in any way, there is no need to blame the system or the electorate. They just need to pick themselves up, look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves where they went wrong and what were the real reasons why the electorate decided that they were not the best suited candidates for office.

Island Wide Voting


Have you ever considered that the distinct disinterest you mention could be down to the fact that under the status quo nobody has the opportunity to vote for more than just a handful ...6 or 7... of the full Assembly who then go on to claim that they represent the whole island. Even that 6 or 7 is way out of reach if you have no faith in more than a couple of the election candidates who happen to stand in your own mini district

I'm sure there is a feeling of 'what's the point'? amongst some who might otherwise take greater interest

It will be most interesting to observe the number of self preservation speeches in the forthcoming debate


I would dispute that the disinterest in participating in Guernsey's elections is that distinct. But I guess that is a matter of opinion.

With over 20000 people bothering to go out and vote, in my opinion, I would say that there is quite a healthy interest in island politics. Especially as the number of persons who have voted has actually risen during the past few elections.

I would agree that some people will be put off by the fact that their choice is limited by where they live, and especially as candidates are not so geographically restricted and can submit their application for any of the electoral areas. Or by the fact that the electorate have no say in who should be chief minister or which committees should be run by which persons.

And I guess some people will be disenfranchised by the belief that some deputies do not keep their promises anyway, just as a certain deputy did a Theresa May style U-turn with regards to the referendum in question.


So, today's news is that Environment are looking at a width and emissions tax. Is this deja vu.? Wasthere not considerable public protest about this.?

Election Issues

Deputy Laurie Queripel

-' Whether the majority of Islanders support a system of Island-wide voting, or whether it is a significant vociferous minority, we do not honestly know.

- It would be rather a good idea to include the public in any decision in regard to electoral reform. - It is not about our preference, it is not about my preference, it is not about other Members' preference, whether we prefer Island-wide voting or the current system, it is about the voters' preference'

Too right! The referendum should contain one 'yes/no' question. Do you want Island -wide voting?

Having a choice of five options will split the vote so not one option will become the outright winner. Deputy Fallaize has already stated that Jersey went out to a referendum with three of four options. Predictably there was no clear consensus in favour of one or the other. The votes were divided not quite equally, but not far off, so the States of Jersey then wondered what they should do, because whatever they did was bound to be opposed by a majority of those who had voted in the referendum. Jersey got themselves into a right mess. Apparently Deputy Fallaize does not want Guernsey to get itself into the same mess.

So why the five options in this referendum?


You minority folk advocating IWV, simply appear to be ignoring the evidence of decades of inertia by voters from every Parish.

I'm not against the principle of IWV if only I could believe in a modicum of interest in the issue, not only by those who have taken the opportunity to register on the Electoral Roll, but also and more significantly, the missing thousands.

It beggars belief that at the very time that so many Islanders find it too much of a chore to register, let alone vote, the purveyors of IWV would present them with an end product of hoards of manifestos to read and candidates to choose. It simply doesn't make sense.

Island Wide Voting


Page 21


1994 Conseillers Guernsey and Alderney overall: 63% highest district: 72% (Torteval) lowest district: 37% (Alderney)

1994 Deputies Guernsey average: 63% highest district: 77% (St. Pierre du Bois) lowest district: 57% (St. Peter Port)

1997 Conseillers Guernsey and Alderney overall: 42% highest district: 50% (Torteval) lowest district: 30% (Alderney)

1997 Deputies Guernsey average: 54% highest district: 72% (Torteval) lowest district: 49% (St. Andrew) (no election in St. Pierre du Bois district)

2000 ( Still voting via 10 Parishes for 45 seats) Deputies Guernsey average: 62% highest district: 72% (St. Pierre du Bois) lowest district: 56% (St. Andrew) (no election in Torteval or Forest districts)

2004 ( First voting via 7 mini districts for 45 seats) Deputies Guernsey average: 64% highest district: 69% (South-East) lowest district: 57% (St. Peter Port North)

2008 Deputies Guernsey average: 56% highest districts: 60% (Vale and West) lowest district: 50% (St. Peter Port South)

2012 Deputies (for 45 seats) Island turnout 71.4% Highest district 76% West Lowest 66% St PP South

2016 Deputies ( for 38 seats ) Island turnout 71.9% Highest district 78% St Sampsons Lowest 63% St PP South


Perhaps Deputy Fallaize and his team might consider reducing it to three choices - namely all out island-wide voting, staying as we are or the Option D of 4 electoral districts.

If I can cite the adages "Evolution, not revolution" and "slowly, slowly, catchy monkey" - we reduced the 10 districts to 7, so how about now going down to 4 and monitoring that for a while before considering the full blown IWV?

Traditionally Guernsey has favoured finding a "halfway house" compromise on thorny issues and the above might be an option for achieving that again on this occasion?

Island Wide Voting


Option D does seem to be the second best on the list after full IWV but it still means that voters can only have an influence on 9 or 10 of the 38 seats. I'm surprised that a 2 district option has not been included whereby half the seats are at stake in each district

I notice that this thread header does not list the five A -E choices which are printed in the written Press so a number of posters might not be fully aware of what those choices are

Just looked up the definition of 'Democracy'

Noun … 'a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives'

That appears to rule out a system whereby voters are limited to electing only a handful of their reps

Island Wide Voting

Matt Fallaize has just cleared up the 40% question in the Assembly

40% means that the overall turnout must be at least 40% of electors on the roll otherwise the exercise will be null and void and the status quo of 5 or 6 votes persists

There were 30,320 on the 2016 electoral roll which means that 12,128 responses are required

To put that into perspective YB relied on 159 responses in order to formulate and push through her (and Baz's) Traffic Strategy!