Island Wide

The last Assembly was not able to agree on a version of Island Wide Voting it thought would work.

The arguments generally centred around:

  • It is hard to find half a dozen people running for my parish who match my views
  • I want to use my votes on other people in other parishes who match my views
  • The close link with electors found in parish door step visiting is valuable
  • The hustings for 80 candidates could be problematic
  • The voting slips for 80 candidates could be confusing
  • Having to check 80 Manifestos would lead to a lack of scrutiny
  • Results would be skewed to sitting Deputies who are better known
  • New candidates would find it harder to get elected


Any island wide system will have to find a compromise between these conflicting viewpoints.


If you go completely island wide for all 45 Deputies, you would need hustings for 80 candidates, would need to read through 80 manifestos. Even the electoral reform society did not recommend that! I want to find a way we can vote for other people in other parishes without losing the benefits of the parish system and keeping it simple.

The front runner in my mind is to have the election as usual but have the ability to cast up to 5 extra votes outside of the parish for any candidates you wish. This was the ‘Golden Vote’ scenario mentioned in the original report on Island Wide Voting but which did not feature in the eventual recommendations by the States Assembly and Constitution Committee.

We would keep door step campaigning, keep a strong parish link, give us the ability to choose outside of our districts.

The downside I can see to this is that perhaps a candidate would not have been successful in their own parish, but due to island wide voting might be elected anyway.

The parish voters might not get what they want in particular instances but is this worth compromising on?

The voting slips for that sort of election would have to include every candidate’s name and that would be a long slip.

Any suggestions? 


  1. This is not going to be an easy issue to resolve; that said if it were we would already have IWV in place. Every time I run a thought process through my mind I come across a further anomaly to resolve before the first thought can closed off an so it goes on…. These views are my own and are by no means an answer to the question just a launch pad for further discussion; playing devil’s advocate to get the party started!

    I definitely believe we need to keep the benefits of the parish system with the candidates continuing with the door-to-door canvassing. It is important that individual parish issues can be discussed within the parish and that the electorate have knowledge and belief that their specific issues have a voice within the States chamber.

    That said we need to also focus on the opportunity of being able to elect candidates that have strong values, views and experience who may not be in ones own parish but who would be steadfast individuals to represent the Island as a whole.

    I too have thought that 2-3 additional votes could be allowed with maybe the top 5 or 6 candidates per parish getting seats depending on the number of seats available i.e. St Sampson currently 6 seats would have 5 seats available etc. This would allow 10 seats (1 from each parish) to be given to the next top 10 highest voted for candidates.

    Would this work I don’t know: I am sure someone with a stats background would be able to say!

    In opening up the choice of candidates the cost of manifesto distribution would have to be considered. Maybe there should be a central point for all to be viewed online and in the media.

    The hustings must continue; such an important means of understanding the candidates view etc. Should the questions be opened up to all and not just those within the parish or should the hustings be determined by lucky dip with a mix of candidates from across the Island coming together?

    Could technology be used for voting to entice more of the younger populous to engage? Could the online, secure facility already available for Income Tax be integrated into a new system. The voting slip would be large admittedly but I am sure with careful design it would be easy to use.

    Hope my comments get the issue started; feel free to reply positively or negatively. We need to find an answer and the only way forward is to put all thoughts down in writing so they can be considered and discussed, ruled in or out. Here’s hoping……..

  2. I think that there should be island wide voting, if we are not able to organise this, with a population less than the attendance at an international rugby match, how can the states run the island.
    I however do have concerns regarding how new blood could enter politics, the parish system allows for someone to get recognised and make a difference without being pitted against vocal politicians that spend a lot of time in the media, picking holes in everything which is easy, but without appearing to be able to suggest solutions which is the hard part.
    I therefore consider that some parish or other stage would be of benefit so that the island voters could get to know new comers

  3. The first thing that needs to happen is for the number of deputies to be considerably reduced, once that happens some form of island wide voting should be more achieveable. I would also not want to completely loose the parish system and would prefer some form of compromise like those suggested above.

  4. Reducing the number of deputies to facilitate IWV risks enormous unintended consequences. Biennial voting would halve the number of candidates on the sheet.

  5. It’s difficult enough to get people interested every 4 years, I don’t think voting every 2 years will help much. I would be interested to hear what unintended consequences would occur by reducing the number of deputies? For the size of our island and population it seems we are currently massively over represented.

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