Postal vote encouragement ‘with island’s future at stake’
THE future of Guernsey is at stake in next month’s election, and voters are being urged to register for postal voting to allow more time to ponder their choices.
One member of the 2020 Electoral Support Group, former deputy John Langlois, said people needed to do their homework and avoid making impulsive decisions about who they vote for.
The group was set up to encourage islanders to register, research and vote, and as well as Mr Langlois includes former Bailiff Sir Geoffrey Rowland, Lord Eric De Saumarez, Alan Bisson and Diane Ward.
Now the group’s campaign is moving into its second phase, which as well as encouraging people to register for postal votes, will be asking candidates a series of questions about their backgrounds and previous experience.
These will include seeking details of things the candidate has done which they feel benefited their employer or the community, what they would like to change in the way the States is run, and how they feel their life experience and qualifications will benefit the States.
The group’s view is that if people have information about a candidate’s background, they will be in a better position to determine how qualified they are to become a deputy.
‘The quality of candidates is very important,’ said Lord Eric.
Researching the candidates is one of the group’s key messages: ‘Do your homework. The future of this island is at stake,’ said Mr Langlois in his message to voters.
There will be no politics on the www.2020esg.gg website, though, with the group emphasising a more person-centric approach.
Sir Geoffrey said that while there are many current issues about which candidates will have an opinion, their experience will reflect in how they handle future issues: ‘It’s the capabilities of people to cope with all the things that will be the topics in two or three years’ time [that are important to us],’ he said.
‘We believe that what we are doing is going to be helpful to the candidates in getting themselves over to the electorate,’ said Lord Eric.
People on the electoral roll who have not yet registered for a postal vote can do so until 25 September by visiting the election2020.gg website.
With 119 names on the ballot paper and the chance to choose up to 38, the ESG is encouraging as many people as possible to opt for a vote by post.
Sir Geoffrey said that as well as giving islanders the benefit of being able to fill in the form at leisure, it could also encourage people to discuss their choices.
Mr Bisson said he thought it would probably be a family affair given that there is so much paperwork: ‘It’s going to be more than one person who contributes,’ he said.
Even if the ballot paper is not put in the post in time, it is possible for it to be handed in at a polling station, but this must be done by someone in person. A representative of the voter can do it, but it must include the ID verification form and return envelope from the postal ballot pack.
The candidates will be sent the questionnaire in the next few days, but the group has run into a problem obtaining email addresses.
‘We would like as many candidates as possible to contact us so we can send out the questionnaire,’ said Mrs Ward.
. Candidates should email firstname.lastname@example.org.