CPA BIMR Observers report on the Jersey 2018 Election

Published 30 May 2018

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region (CPA BIMR), Election Observation Mission (EOM) was present in Jersey from 5 May till 18 May 2018, following an invitation from the States and Government of Jersey. In advance of this date, CPA BIMR conducted two scoping visits in 2017 and observed nomination days on the 10 and 11 April. The eight-member Mission was composed of:

• Head of Mission - Hon. Phillip Paulwell CD MP (Jamaica)
• Deputy Head of Mission – Hon. Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings MP (Ghana)
• Short Term Observer – Jeremy Balfour MSP (Scotland)
• Short Term Observer – Tenia Woolridge (Bermuda)
• Senior Election Coordinator – Matthew Salik (CPA UK – United Kingdom)
• Election Coordinator – Fleur Ten Hacken (CPA UK – The Netherlands)
• Election Analyst – Harald Jepsen (Denmark)
• Election Analyst – Anne Grandvoinnet Serafini (France)

This Mission is the first to occur in Jersey following an amendment to the Public Elections (Jersey) Law 2002 in January 2017 which permits the access of observers.

The EOM assessed the electoral process in accordance with international standards and best practices for elections and domestic legislation. Prior to election day, the Mission met with the Chief Minister, Bailiff, States Greffier, the Judicial Greffier, election and parish officials, candidates, political parties, civil society, the public, media representatives, the States of Jersey and Honorary Police and attended a number of campaign events. On Wednesday 16 May, EOM members were deployed throughout Jersey for observation of election day procedures. After observing the opening procedures, the Mission made repeated visits to all the Island’s 18 polling stations to follow the voting process. Later in the day, the EOM observed the counting and results tabulation process in a number of different election districts.

According to the Observation Mission...

“The 2018 Jersey election was well executed, competitive and enabled the electorate to cast their votes in secret and express their will in a transparent, peaceful and orderly manner. We commend the election officials who were professional in carrying out their functions meticulously and impartially. In particular the efforts by the States Greffe to educate and engage the population in the electoral process. However their work was hindered by an electoral system which remains overly complicated and cumbersome. Further areas of concern relate to the number of uncontested elections, the disparity in the equality of the vote across districts and parishes and the low voter turnout which arguably undermines the principle that the elections in Jersey are fully genuine. Improvements are needed to tackle the deficiencies in the regulatory framework, particularly in relation to campaign financing, political parties and the process for candidate nomination.”

The complete preliminary statement can be found here