Saturday, 7 December 2013

ST HELIER’S 10,000 MISSING VOTERS – Voter registration - boring but vital

The recent cull of voters off the electoral rolls across the island has been completed . This means there are sure to be many who will find they have lost the right to vote by not having filled in a voter registration form in the last three years. 

So, its time to start a new voter registration campaign bearing in mind there are elections next year.

Yes, its boring to keep completing those pink, green or yellow forms that the Parishes send out at regular intervals and then find their way into the “In File” and rapidly disappear to the bottom and finally get thrown out with last months’ Sunday newspapers.

In St Helier the cull has removed 2007 names from the electoral role. This breaks down as follows:                                            

Roll - Referendum                       April 2013
Roll - September 2013
Eligible voters (2011 Census) *
Voter penetration %
District No 1
District No 2
District No ¾


* Source Electoral Commission 2013

Comparison with data obtained from the 2011 Census indicates there are 10,000 missing eligible voters from the St Helier electoral rolls. This figure comes from subtacting the number on the current role (16,762) from the 26,860 that the Electoral Commission determined were eligible voters using data from the 2011 Cenus.

This puts the usual 60- 70% voter abstention into even starker relief. If one takes the results in St Helier of the Referendum in April 2013, in which 932 voted for Option B in the first round, this represent a minuscule 3% of eligible voters. So much for the referendum being a ringing endorsement of anything, let alone Option B. So much for legitimacy. That said, St Helier, by a margin of two to one, voted for Option A. 

Does anyone in government worry about this state of affairs? We know the answer. Resposibility rests with the Parishes, who compile the electoral roll and have undertaken the current cull. The political leadership of the Parishes is indifferent to the issue and the task of getting up the numbers falls upon a number of hard working and enthusiastic officials whose efforts are never fully recognised.

If we want to know why voter registration is such a cinderella subject we dont have to look far for an explanation. The reason is FEAR. Those that hold power fear mass participation of the population in political affairs. The current passivity, indifference and disengagement is terribly suitable, to some. 

There is a major disconnect between the governed and the governors. It is not confined to ourselves, as it is widepread across all democracies. That said, it remains very evident here. Voter abstention islandwide is 60% rising to 70% in St Helier. Those elected and the governments they form are not representative. They know they have a major legitimacy crisis. Look down gentlemen; look down.

An extended voter registration campaign should be commenced immediately to get the numbers back on the electoral role. We must also campaign for hope. To convince people that politcs matters and that one day Jersey might have representative governments, not minority rule.

The problem rests with the political class and their refusal to modernise and democratise. The position of the Right is well summed up in one of their secret aphorisms - 




  1. Nick,

    Any readers wishing to print off a registration form and fill it in themselves can find the form here -

    1. Sam,

      This version of the form is universal and not just confined to those living in St Helier.

      Many people will have come off in the cull having ignored the reminders from their Parish. These will need some encouragment to register and understand why its important to take politics seriously. Ignoring the warnings can seriously damage one's life and future.

  2. Actually Nick. If you spoke to some "poorer" people instead of your chattering middle classes (or rich people like yourself) then you would be disappointed to find that they hate their taxes being spend on people who arrive in the island and can (almost) immediately start popping out babies and claim benefits. That is not racism by the way, it is the real post war Beverage model of paying in and getting something out ...........your "stamp"

    Especially when these people have looked after themselves. Yes the more St Helier people who sign up the better as they have real (non civil service) jobs, they don't read the Guardian and are more likely to vote for a low tax economy where they have the personal freedom to drink a pint without somebody in the Public sector telling them off or taxing them!!

    1. It’s said that the Middle Classes have kids but the working classes just “breed”. This is sentiment that no doubt you would endorse. To this deprecation of the working classes you would no doubt throw in a bit of racism and blame immigrants for having children. We can extend your prejudice even further in a fine misogynist way. Undoubtedly you would blame those working class immigrant women for giving birth at all when they clearly cannot afford to bring up children without state benefits. Your advice would be “don’t have children then!” Correct?

      Having children should be a human right and not one denied the working classes.

      As you full well know welfare benefits are not available to those in Jersey without 5 years residence. In the age of the internet ignorance is a choice.

      I empathise if you find yourself unemployed and seek explanations for your condition. Blaming immigrants is the easy and ignorant way. It’s easy to kick down against those who are more powerless than you. Indeed you are encouraged to do so and vent your frustrations that way. You need to do some more study about the structures of society and the economy. Continue reading my blog; it may help you get there.

      Can we have your views on the 1% and the 99%. Whose side are you on and why?

  3. It is very unlikely that even a dozen residents of Jersey who read this blog are non-voters so your plea is evidently a total waste of effort.
    On the other hand it occurs to me that most voters will declare the fact each November by wearing a poppy. I presume - without any statistical basis - that there is a mindset which links the two activities.
    It is too late for this year or in time for the big election (and referendum) next Autumn but if somebody was to thrust a voter registration form into the hands of everybody over 16 not wearing a poppy around that time - then some might be enouraged to participate....But, unfortunately compulsion in registration and voting are the only solutions that I know of to silence your annual first cuckoo of the season refrain...

    1. What strikes me about your comment is its pessimism.

      If there are 10,000 missing from the electoral role, which politician in St Helier is making this an issue? There is simply indifference.

      It matters not who reads this blog, but I hope it is read widely. A voter registration campaign requires active engagement. It means knocking on doors and convincing citizens that it is in their interest to vote. They also have to be informed about the consequences of not voting - that by abstaining they leave the choice of government and its policies to others who do not have the same life or interests.

      There is an old slogan:

      “Pessimism of the mind, optimism of the will”.

      I would agree that something quite drastic like compulsory attendance to vote looks like the only way to get people to the polls. That might require the public to start thinking about their choice. Naturally the political class would never signu up for that as theirs is minority rule based on a hadful of voters.