Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Jersey's Bailiff says date of general election should be changed

The month was changed from Autumn to Spring to encourage more people to vote. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Jersey's Bailiff says holding the general election in May should be rethought.

Sir William Bailhache says that the month was changed from Autumn to Spring to encourage more people to vote, yet there has been no significant increase.

The election in 2018 saw a 32% turnout.

May was chosen because it was thought that the electorate would be more persuaded to turn out in the Spring than in the Autumn when elections had previously taken place. My own view is that it is time to reconsider these reasons.

I hope there will be some reconsideration of the Spring general election day before the next elections.

– Sir William Bailhache, Jersey's Bailiff

The Bailiff went on to say that for States Members to go into purdah for six weeks prior to the elections means that a number of opportunities for States Meetings are lost.

In 2018 Easter took place on 30 March to 1 April, and accommodating an Easter break meant that there were in fact only three Sittings of the Assembly.

Given the lengthy summer break which happens annually, the Assembly leaves itself exposed to the charge that Members are not working hard enough, however unfair that may be.

– Sir William Bailhache, Jersey's Bailiff

The Bailiff says that the combination of electing a new government and the summer break means that very little is done by the Assembly over the four months after the general election.

That election occurred in 2018 on Wednesday 16 May and the States did not reconvene until Tuesday 11 September – again Members are exposed to the same criticism which is no fault of theirs, but is down to the diary arrangements.

– Sir William Bailhache, Jersey's Bailiff