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Sacc to get to work on finer details of island-wide voting

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THE committee in charge of implementing a new island-wide voting system ahead of the 2020 general election will start work on the finer details straight away.

Picture By Peter Frankland. 11-10-18 Counting the ballot papers at St James for the island wide voting referendum. (22775007)

The States’ Assembly & Constitution Committee organised the referendum and has responsibility for enacting it now the turnout threshold has been achieved.

Its president, Peter Roffey, said the States has promised to honour the outcome and he saw no reason why the States would U-turn on that pledge.

‘We now have to work on the detail within the outline of island-wide voting,’ he said.

‘Obviously, there are some practical issues which we have to minimise as far as we possibly can.

‘There are issues about hustings, as people want to see how people perform under fire.

‘It is not feasible to have all of the candidates on stage at once.’

He said questions would have to be asked about manifestos and allowing people to call up the electorate, given the significantly higher number of candidates who will be campaigning for an individual’s vote.

Island-wide voting would have been the successful option under a first-past-the-past system, which was shelved for the referendum in favour of transferable preference voting.

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Even if those two systems had yielded different outcomes, he said he would have stood by his committee’s decision.

‘It was far closer in the final instance than in the first, so it did make a potential difference,’ he said.

‘Under first-past-the-post you could have had one option with minority support and that was really liked by a third of the electorate, but really disliked by the other two-thirds,’ he said.

‘We were determined that it [the winning option] would have the broad support of the public.’

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He said the system was ‘too problematic’ for a general election and would not be suitable.

However, it could be applied in other circumstances in the future, including Jurat elections and for voting in the States on new committee members and presidents.

He said there could be matters in the future where further referendums would be considered.

‘Having blazed the trail by holding one, it is probably slightly more likely than it was before now as we know it works.’

He thanked all of the officers, the lead referendum officer, the chief counting officer and volunteers who played their part in the referendum.

‘I think everything was very professionally done.’

Aaron Carpenter

By Aaron Carpenter
News reporter

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