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Budget troubles scupper 2022 automatic voter registration plan

Budget troubles scupper 2022 automatic voter registration plan

Tuesday 26 October 2021

Budget troubles scupper 2022 automatic voter registration plan

A project to introduce automatic voter registration for the 2022 election has been scrapped after “troubling deficiencies in project and financial management” emerged.

With voter participation dwindling around 40% at the last election, a plan to automatically register anyone eligible to vote in a bid to boost numbers was formally launched in 2018 with a three-year budget of £100,000.

The States Greffier tested the concept by comparing the existing St. Helier No 1 and St. Mary registers with ones generated using populus data. The project showed that centrally-held data could be used to capture over 95% of people on the current registers, as well as many more people who are currently not registered.

A project board was set up in late 2020, and a “considerable amount of work” was undertaken in the first half of this year to draw up detailed requirements for the new system, which, it was hoped, would be ready by the end of the year, alongside necessary changes to the electoral law.

However, the Greffier expressed concerns about whether the system would be ready on time for the 2022 election after the project manager changed in summer 2022.

Shortly after being appointed, the new project manager was asked to conduct a 'health check' on the project, which revealed a number of major concerns:

  • the new system was “likely to be considerably in excess” of the existing £100,000 budget;

  •  an estimated 56 weeks’ work would be needed to design, test and launch automatic electoral registration;

  • and more staff would be needed to work on the project.

Given these findings, the Greffier closed the programme.

Had the project been successful, it would have paved the way for online voting.

The Privileges and Procedures Committee (PPC) – the panel of politicians responsible for overseeing the running of the States Assembly and electoral processes – said it has now written to the Treasury Minister to draw her attention to what they described as apparent “troubling deficiencies in project and financial management”.

Reporting the news to political colleagues, the Committee said it was “deeply disappointed”, adding: “Other potentially desirable innovations, such as enabling voters to have a choice as to where they vote on polling day or voting by electronic means, cannot proceed without reform of the registration process.”

PPC said decisions on how to reform electoral registration would now have to be left for the new States Assembly to decide.

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Posted by Keith Marsh on
WOW ! It is Government "cock-up" day.
Looks like we will have to go out, risking Covid infection, to vote to get rid of this incompetent mob.
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