Tuesday, 8 November 2011

District No.1 Election RECOUNTED – No Regrets

The integrity of the count in the District No.1 election was confirmed today following a recount. An application by Deputy Paul Le Claire before the Royal Court this morning was granted after lunch at 2.30pm with the recount conducted immediately thereafter in the Town Hall.

The Court heard representations from Deputy Le Claire, the Attorney General and the candidates. I suspect that what made the difference was an Affidavit I prepared setting out a number of anomalies and perceived sloppiness on the part of counters on the night. My arguments added flesh and muscle to give Deputy Le Claire’s application some substance. I suspect that without my observations there would not have been sufficient “grounds” for a recount. There is no automatic right to a recount by a candidate or other party under the Jersey law. It remains in the discretion of the Autorise/Jurat conducting the count on the night. The Royal Court gave its decision today with written reasons to follow in due course.

One likely reform that will come out of the Application will be in the way the result of the vote is announced.  This will probably change to follow the UK model whereby the Returning Officer discloses the result in private to the candidates, enabling them to raise queries or request a recount, before a formal public announcement. This was the only issue of real substance in support of Deputy Le Claire's action. He claimed the result had come as a complete shock to him, given that he had topped the poll in two previous elections, he did not have the presence of mind to request a recount. The margin of difference between Deputy Le Claire and Deputy Judy Martin was 17 votes.

Needless to say, Deputy Martin is much relieved by the final outcome and as he embarks on a new career, Paul Le Claire will not have to live with the thought “What if I had never asked?”

Below is an interview I conducted once it was clear the result of the election would be unchanged.


  1. Why did Le Claire bother to appeal? A few months ago he was saying that he did not want to stand again for election and when he gets defeated suddenly wakes up to the reality of life centred on La Motte Street.
    Join the club brother. With 1,200 more about to join the queue he had better reserve his place. What next for him? Perhaps the new CM will need a somewhat overweight minder. Politics will almost certainly become much uglier in Jersey over the next few years and Bailhache will discover that more aggrevation is the new order not less. The polite political club is so ill that even our Trades Union "leaders" might become activated to engage!

  2. I disagree with quite a bit of your politics, but this is a Statesmen-like, thoughtful and realistic interview. Alternative "noises off" are needed and I hope you continue to provide them.