More needs to be done to help disabled and ex-prisoner candidates to stand for election, and work out why minority communities do not vote in greater numbers, an international body responsible for overseeing Jersey's election has concluded.
The findings featured in the final report from International observers from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, specifically its British Islands and Mediterranean Region.
Above all, they have concluded that the Jersey elections were a successful democratic exercise and that Jersey’s legal framework complies with international standards for democratic elections.
However, they also found that further efforts are needed to "broaden the right to stand for election" and to improve diversity and inclusion among voters as well as candidates.
They have made 14 recommendations for the next election, scheduled for 2026.
The island should adopt the 2008 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
To allow for broader electoral participation on equal basis, candidature rights should be reviewed and brought in line with international standards and good practices for democratic elections, including:
The blanket ban on the right to stand for seven years for anyone previously sentenced to more than three months in prison ought to be removed;
The indefinite blanket ban on the right to stand for anyone found guilty of electoral offences under the 2006 Corruption Law while serving a public function should be removed;
Any restrictions on the right to stand against persons with disabilities should be eliminated from the law.
In order to consolidate and improve upon the success of the number of women elected in this election, measures to strengthen women’s participation in elections could be considered, especially in elections for Connétables, in line with international good practice;
Efforts could be increased to "eliminate barriers to inclusion and greater participation in the electoral process by persons with disabilities", including physical access to campaign events, availability of facilities for visually impaired voters before and on Election Day and treatment of issues related to disability in the campaign.
Work on “disseminating information” about elections among minority communities should continue, “with the aim of promoting their participation in the process".
As the requirement for voters to use photo ID to prove their identity is not established in law "and restricts suffrage", consideration should be given to whether "the use of photo ID as evidence of voter eligibility should be maintained or whether other alternative methods of proving identity are suitable".
The head of the CPA Mission to Jersey and Member of the Scottish Parliament, Martin Whitfield MSP, said: “This is CPA BIMR’s second mission to Jersey and the first since extensive electoral reform was adopted in 2021."
“This election was far more competitive than in the past, and Election Day itself was calm, with commendable efforts from the election administration and volunteers to facilitate a positive voting experience.
Pictured: The team of official 'election observers'.
Mr Whitfield continued: “However, several issues arose during the electoral process including the requirement for photo ID, the absence of a complaints procedure for voters, and diversity and inclusion of candidates as well as voters.”
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The Scottish Parliament is in a dreadful mess, cannot control its limited budget expenditure and is always out with the begging bowl to Westminster Government for more money.
One thinks, it would be good to get ones house in order first.