Jersey’ voter turnout is lower than any country in the OECD, according to a report by a newly formed thinktank.
Only 17% of people under 35 and 16% of tenants voted in the 2022 election, according to the Policy Centre Jersey.
In comparison, people aged 65 and over had a turnout of 53%.
18% of those living in urban areas voted, while in rural areas, turnout was of 40%.
“It’s really important that all sections of the community participate fully in the election so that policy-makers take account first of all in what they say to the electorate but also in what they do then [in office],” the author of the report, former leader of the Jersey Alliance Sir Mark Boleat, said.
Guernsey’s turnout is much higher at 79.7%, though this can partly be explained by different registration practices. Turnout is higher in Guernsey than Jersey, Sir Mark said, but the difference isn’t as significant as the turnout figure suggests.
The main reasons that people gave for not voting in the 2022 election were that it wouldn’t have made a difference, that they didn’t trust the political system, they’re not interested in the election, and they didn’t know enough about the candidates.
“It’s not that they can’t vote, they don’t trust the political system,” Sir Mark said.
“When I started this research people said that’s because people are very happy. The evidence doesn’t support that.”
Pictured: The report was authored by Sir Mark Boleat.
He said that one other factor that might be at play is tradition: people are not used to voting.
“The evidence is that people not born in Jersey are more likely to vote than Jersey people. People who have come here from Britain are used to have voted in elections. It's standard, people vote.”
Turnout at the last election was just 41.7%, making it the election with the third lowest turnout in the last 30 years. On average, over the last 30 years, turnout has been 44.1%.
Some of the solutions the report suggests are increasing postal voting, increasing the number of polling stations, and introducing super polling stations.
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