How much did this election cost to run?
ON LOOKING at the results of the recent election for deputies, I notice that the 10 successful candidates whose surnames start with the letters in the second half of the alphabet are all well-known to the general public – namely St Pier, Soulsby, Roffey, Trott, Vermeulen, Parkinson, Prow, Oliver, Queripel and, maybe the exception – Andrew Taylor.
It required a lot of effort for us, the voters, to properly look at all the candidates, and I wonder whether we lost the will to do more than skim through the manifestos in the latter part of the booklet.
I am also concerned as to the cost of running an island-wide election. I have heard on the Guernsey grapevine the figure of more than half a million pounds this time. I would very much like to have clear, transparent information as to how much this election has cost us, the taxpayer, and how it compares to previous parish-based elections.
Editor’s footnote: a spokesperson for the States of Guernsey Election team replies:
Thank you for offering the opportunity to comment on your correspondent’s letter regarding the island-wide election.
Information was presented to voters in a variety of forms, including the joint manifesto booklet; candidate videos; online and postal manifestos; face-to-face meetings and hustings events. Consequently, there is no obvious reason why the combined manifesto booklet should have been the overriding factor in determining the distribution of votes.
With regard to the cost of the election, in December 2019 the States agreed a budget of £550,000 for the States’ Assembly & Constitution Committee to fund the costs of managing the 2020 General Election. The budget for the 2016 election, excluding staffing costs and costs associated with the Electoral Roll, was £118,000, split over 2015 and 2016.
The States’ Assembly & Constitution Committee pointed out to the States in its policy letter debated in December 2019 that moving to an island-wide electoral system would substantially increase the costs of the General Election. The committee advised that new initiatives such as an electronic count solution, inviting election observers, introducing four days of polling, seeking to accommodate a likely increase of the number of postal votes and expanding the options on the website would increase the cost of the election in comparison with previous years. The two approaches are so different that it is not possible to compare costs on a like-for-like basis.