Elections body ‘could provide oversight’

A PERMANENT dedicated elections body should be constituted to embed ‘institutional’ expertise and knowledge into the island’s electoral system, according to international monitors.

‘This body could provide continuous electoral oversight, including oversight of candidate and voter registration, political parties and campaign finance,’ said monitors from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region.

They also praised the States’ election team ‘in achieving an effective election operation and polling day’ amid demanding work – with fixed deadlines and limited resourcing and the pandemic delaying the election to October.

‘This election took place in a context of extraordinarily challenging barriers, but the elections team still managed to deliver an effective election,’ said monitors from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region (CPA BIMR).

The report noted election administration in Guernsey was not a permanent aspect of the governmental infrastructure with staff drawn from other parts of the civil service, including the Registrar General of Electors, who maintains electoral registration.

‘The elections team seems to have general respect among stakeholders for carrying out its activities in an independent and impartial manner and for its readiness to provide information to voters and candidates.

‘Nonetheless, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which applies to Guernsey, has been interpreted as requiring that an independent electoral authority should be established to supervise the electoral process.’

The review also recommended greater codification of electoral rules and procedures.

Separate recommendations were that improved training for polling station staff be considered along with an open recruitment process for such staff.

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