How will 'none of the above' work at Jersey's election?

Credit: ITV Channel TV

As part of wide-reaching reforms to Jersey's electoral system, this year voters will have the opportunity to say 'no thanks.'

In a bid to tackle the problem of uncontested elections, 'none of the above' will be appearing on ballot slips in districts where a candidate would otherwise be returned unopposed.

If it wins the most votes, nominations will be reopened and another election will take place.

How will it work?

'None of the above' will be rolled out in any vote where the number of candidates is equal to or less than the number of vacant seats.

For example, if only one candidate were to stand for the role of Constable in a given parish, then the option will appear on the ballot paper for that vote.

In theory, it means that the only candidate to stand for election could lose.

However, it will not appear on the ballot paper anywhere where the number of candidates is higher than the number of posts.

Why has it been introduced?

Uncontested elections have been a long-running problem in Jersey.

In the last two elections, around three in every 10 candidates were returned without facing an election.

While the reforms may not stop only one candidate running for a particular post, ultimately it will mean that they still have to make their case to the electorate.

For example, they will still be given the option of taking part in hustings, where voters can ask them questions on their manifesto points - though it is at their own discretion if they decide to take part.