Those behind ‘None of the Above’ campaigns to oust Constables must declare how much money they spent or whether they received donations, the Jersey Electoral Authority has said.
Under the law, politicians must declare their campaign expenses, as do any third parties which may have sought to influence the election.
The JEA, which was launched earlier this year and is overseeing its first election, said it would “like to remind any third parties who incurred expenses or received donations relating to the 22 June election that, in certain circumstances, they need to file a declaration with the JEA by 20 July 2022.”
It added: “If a declaration is required, it is an offence to fail to deliver one on time without reasonable excuse.
“Expenses can be incurred in both campaigning for or against the election of candidates (or political parties).
“For the avoidance of doubt this would include expenditure encouraging the casting of votes for ‘None of the candidates’.”
‘None of the Above’ was introduced as an option this year for uncontested seats, so featured in eight elections for Constable.
In some parishes, the number of NOTA votes was high.
Pictured: Banners and posters were put up in St. Brelade encouraging voters to vote 'None of the Above' in the election for Constable.
In St. Saviour, more that 42% of votes cast were for NOTA – 1,142 votes compared to successful candidate Kevin Lewis’s 1,552.
In St. Brelade, where Mike Jackson was returned to office with 2,333 votes compared to 882 NOTA votes, there was a poster and banner campaign – suggesting that expenses were incurred.
One of those supporting the NOTA campaign in the parish was Karl Sutton, who owns the Hideout kiosk at La Pulente.
Mr Sutton had taken the parish to court over his ability to trade on the slipway, which the parish had sought to remove. Just before the final hearing, the parish settled, and the Hideout remains open while a café is built on the site of the former toilets, which will operate as a Nude Food outlet.
Mr Sutton said: “I was strongly supportive of the NOTA campaign in St. Brelade, but I was not behind it. Everyone rallied after an email was circulated which raised concerns about the Constable.
"I’ve never met the person who sent it, but it mobilised nearly 900 people to choose None of the Above."
“Those supporting NOTA were simply promoting another option. In the end, Constable Jackson won and we lost - that’s democracy and I posted a message of congratulations to him on Facebook."
He continued: “I think the campaigners want to remain under the radar because they don’t want the backlash. Unfortunately, there’s been quite a lot of mudslinging online, including from fake accounts, and I think people now just want to step back.
“I can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t be prepared to share their expenses if they have to, as long as they were allowed to remain anonymous; as I said, there’s been a lot of criticism posted on social media.”
“I think the NOTA philosophy is right in democratic terms but perhaps needs to be tweaked in the light of the interpretations during this election," Mr Jackson said.
“I don't think anyone had any idea that it would be used as a funded platform for an attack on particular individuals.
“Having an anonymous body requesting voters to cast what is an anonymous vote anyway seems perplexing.
“It is therefore only fair that those who wish to campaign in this way declare themselves and submit their expenses to the JEA.”
Pictured: St. Brelade Constable Mike Jackson: "I don't think anyone had any idea that NOTA would be used as a funded platform for an attack on particular individuals."
He added: “I gather from my discussions while out canvassing and from those within the polling stations in St. Brelade that many voters were confused and felt the concept was an unnecessary waste of time and cost. I did explain the reasons why.
“I expect the new Privileges and Procedures Committee will need to get to grips with this during the next four years.”
Asked about what powers the JEA had to investigate anonymous campaigns, the authority’s chairman, John Everett, said: “If a third party fails to deliver a declaration, without reasonable excuse, then the law allows the JEA to refer matters to the Attorney General.
“However, in the case of third parties, no declaration needs to be made unless at least £600 has been spent.”
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