Monday, 3 February 2014

Votes for Women?

She has beautiful black eyebrows but I owe Miss Le Marquand a big apology.

The voter registration form I completed with her yesterday morning omitted her signature. Distracted by all the banter she entered her profession but I failed to check she had signed.

I only spotted the error this morning just before the noon cut off time for registration for the by-election in District No.1. 

I rang her on her mobile and not receiving a reply I rushed round to her flat in the hope she might be at home. Alas she wasn’t. 

I will apologize in person and hope that she will cast her vote in the October General Election. Every vote counts and every voter is important, regardless of their gender.

So when did women get suffrage in Jersey? Does anyone know and why is it not remembered. Why is there no plaque or monument to Jersey’s suffragettes?

Having submitted all the voter registration forms I gathered over the weekend,I walked out of the Town Hall at 11.45am pleased that a good job had been done. To reward myself I thought it was time to take a well deserved coffee with a friend with whom I had some business to complete.

I rang this friend and invited him to coffee. No, he could not join me as he was in the process of moving the last of his possessions to new accommodation in St Saviour’s road. Where about in St Saviour’s road I asked?

The answer had me mount my bike and across Town in a sprint that beat all records. 

“Stay right there”, I shouted down my mobile “ I am coming right now”

Dodging between cars and lorries I headed towards the Mayfair Hotel. I peddled harder and harder because I knew his vote could mean the difference between defeat and victory. That bit of St Saviour's road where he lives is in District No.1 St Helier.

We met. I pulled out the voter registration form, got him to fill it in, sign, and peddled back to the Town Hall.

As I arrived, I dumped the bicycle on the pavement and ran inside. 

As I burst through the door I glanced at the time on my watch – it was NOON dead on . A startled queue wondered what was happening as I headed straight for the Electoral Registrar sitting at a table.  He was with the Establishment’s candidate for this election answering queries about his nomination form.

My chest heaving, I could hardly get the word out - “Ok?” I asked, as I pushed the voter registration form across the table.

A nod and smile indicated I had fulfilled my mission. 

Whilst Miss Le Marquand won't be voting in this election, my friend George certainly will - and we know who that will be for. George, for that forthcoming vote ...Mul»õumesc mult!


  1. Nick,

    I am fairly sure that general suffrage for women came in under the Franchise (Jersey) Law 1945. This was replaced by a second Law dated 1950, which explicitly states in article 2 that the basic qualification is if he or she is over 21 years old.

    Needless to say, it's impossible to get sight of the original 1945 Law.

    It certainly wasn't ahead of the UK: a 1912 petition held at the Archive (D/AP/U/88) requests the right for females who pay parish rates to be allowed to vote in public elections. A second 1919 petition (D/AP/U/108) requested that Jersey be brought into line with the UK in having universal franchise for all men over 21 and all women over 30. There is also a file at B/D/A/R8 covering 1945-57 which contains references to "new franchise measures".

  2. Well, thank you for that. We are getting closer to a lost political tradition - that of women for equality.

    I recall reading that inter war women, whose husbands were serving in the Militia had the right to vote. As ever, the franchise is only extended to those it is safe to give the vote.

    The Archive clearly contains useful information. A project for after the election. The priority now clearly being to win, or the rights of women will never see the light of day. En avant!

  3. According to de Lisle Bois (1970), 'women aged 30 and over were made eligible as Deputies by a law in 1914.' in 'A Constitutional History of Jersey' (cited in JEP 24th Jan 2007)

    Whether women were allowed to stand as Deputies but still not be eligible to vote, I am not sure? I suspect in 1914 women were also given the vote in Jersey (in the UK it was 1918) as I can't believe Jersey lagged 30 years behind the UK on this issue!!!

    (........Oh actually I can believe it- look at gender discrimination, homosexuality, the right to maternity pay. Ok- yes Jersey can lag behind when it suits- look at democracy today and the rejection of AV STV, look at the lack of Gov. and Politics A level in not get me started)

    I'm not sure at what stage the right to vote was extended to non-land owners.

    In 1948 the States of Jersey adopted universal suffrage for all citizens over 18.