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Court suggests reviewing “lessons learned” from Constable saga

Court suggests reviewing “lessons learned” from Constable saga

Thursday 21 July 2022

Court suggests reviewing “lessons learned” from Constable saga

Thursday 21 July 2022

The Royal Court has suggested a review of what lessons can be learned after a discrepancy led to a recount of the votes cast in the election for the Constable of St. Saviour.

The comments from Commissioner Sir Michael Birt followed a Royal Court hearing in which former Deputy and Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis was confirmed in the leading parish role.

The recount had been ordered by the Royal Court last week after a discrepancy was discovered between the number of recorded ballots cast and the number of votes counted on the night of Jersey's general election.

A document, signed by the official overseeing the St. Saviour election on 22 June, recorded the number of ballots cast in the election for Constable as 3,158.

However, the total number of votes cast for Kevin Lewis and 'None of the Above' was 2,698 - a discrepancy of 460 votes.

In the Royal Court this afternoon, the Attorney General reported that Master of the Royal Court, Advocate Matthew Thompson, had conducted a comprehensive review and one-and-a-half-hour recount alongside court officials, which confirmed Mr Lewis had been elected Constable with 1,554 votes in his favour.

This was two votes more than previously recorded.

'None of the Above', meanwhile, had 1,158 - 12 votes more than those recorded on the night of the election.

Advocate Thompson's findings were presented in a sworn affidavit presented to the court.

Having considered them, the Commissioner said it seemed clear that the original figure for votes cast was an "erroneous calculation".

This may have been related to the fact that some individuals opted only to vote for Deputies or opted not to return their pre- or postal votes at all, he summarised.

The Attorney General, Mark Temple, commented: "There has been an extremely thorough recount and as far as I'm. concerned on behalf of the public interest, I am satisfied that Mr Lewis was duly elected as Constable."

Confirming the result, the Commissioner concluded the hearing by inviting the States Greffier to "establish if any lessons can be learned with regards to the miscalculation of the total number of votes cast" and said it was "important" that the matter was looked into "to ensure the democratic will has been properly recorded."

The newly-confirmed Constable thanked the court and its officers for bringing the matter of the recount to a "speedy resolution".

Having invited the Constable to address the court, the Commissioner then joked, "We can hardly ask 'None of the Above' to speak."

Advocate Ian Jones appeared on behalf of the Parish of St. Saviour.

Follow Express for an in-depth look at the issues, and how the recount process worked...


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