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Islanders Association to use ‘guerrilla marketing’ for vote

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THE ISLANDERS ASSOCIATION will employ ‘guerrilla marketing’ tactics in the run-up to the island-wide voting referendum.

Deputy Carl Meerveld was at the Bridge yesterday promoting the Islanders Association’s preferred option ahead of the referendum. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 22515793)

St Sampson’s deputy and Islanders Association co-founder Carl Meerveld was speaking at the launch of its campaign in support of Option A, full island-wide voting.

In June 2017, the States agreed to stage a multi-option referendum on the method of electing deputies to the States.

It will be held on Wednesday 10 October, when voters will be asked to rank one or more of the five options according to their preference for how deputies should be elected.

The Islanders Association are backing Option A as they believe it will offer the only true form of island-wide voting and that the current system favours populists.

Deputy Meerveld said the referendum would be difficult as ‘it has been designed to fail’.

‘This referendum has been designed by people who do not want island-wide voting,’ he said.

‘The complexity, the preferential transferable voting system, five options – it’s lunacy.

‘It should have been a binary choice: do you want island-wide voting, yes or no.

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‘With this transferable voting system, statistically it’s most likely your second choice will win and not your first.

‘This is why we are asking people to vote for Option A and Option A alone.

‘Each campaign group is allowed to spend only a maximum of £10,000, of which £5,000 is provided by the States.

‘We looked at this from a campaign group and thought how we can win this, as it is so important for the island.

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‘The States have said there has to be a 40% turnout of the electorate for the referendum to stand.

‘So we have to reach out and persuade the public to vote for Option A.’

To do this Deputy Meerveld said they would employ guerrilla marketing, an advertisement strategy concept designed to promote in an unconventional way with little budget to spend.

The Islanders Association has called on some of its 130-plus members to get behind the idea and volunteer for the cause.

‘The concept is low cost, high impact and thinking cleverly,’ said Deputy Meerveld. ‘We now have a one-month window to get our message out there and reach the entire of Guernsey.

‘I ask our members to get out there and talk to people, have people sign up to the newsletter and hand out leaflets.

‘We are going to try all sorts of things. We will be at key locations meeting people, doing whatever we can to raise our profile.

‘We have identified 10 key locations in the island where we will place huge banners, so nobody will miss them.

‘We have smaller packs, car window signs, A5 posters, put them in the window of your house, in your car, hand out the leaflets to your neighbours.

‘I want to paper this island, I don’t want anybody to go anywhere without seeing one of our signs.

‘This is an opportunity to not only take that first crucial step in changing the way our electoral system works. It’s also an opportunity to vastly increase the profile of the Islanders Association and bring in more people to support us both now and before the elections in 2020.’

Islanders Association member Steve Wall said he hoped the campaign would be a success. ‘They are looking at things from a practical point of view and are going to drive their message across,’ he said. ‘It’s a wonderful island, but I’ve been back here since March, having been away for 30 years and there are an awful lot of things that haven’t changed.’

The campaign for option B, the status quo of 38 deputies elected in seven districts every four years, has already launched.

Option C also has an official campaign – this would see 10 deputies elected island-wide and 28 by district, every four years.

Option D would have deputies elected in four districts every four years. Option E is an election every two years for one-third of the States.

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