This is not a complete checklist, but here are three things I think are essential to have ready on the day you submit your nomination:
- Your manifesto
- Your completed, signed nomination form
- A campaign plan for the month ahead
If your manifesto contains links to a personal website or social media, make sure that those links are up and running. There needs to be enough content on your website to grab people’s interest from day one, even if you’re planning on adding to it throughout the campaign period.
The States is providing a number of “freebies” for election candidates. You can find out more in the official candidates’ guidance. These include a two-page manifesto (as part of a book of manifestos), a 3-minute video, and a dedicated candidate page on the Election website. Make use of these. Voters will use them as a one-stop-shop to find out about candidates – you don’t want to be missing from that.
These have tight production deadlines. Those are also set out in the guidance. Make sure you know what they are. The content for your two-page manifesto will need to be submitted at the same time as your nomination. That’s why you need to have it ready on day one.
(Also, manifestos are really hard to write! Getting everything you want to say out of your head onto paper, in a way that means voters will connect with you, is not easy for anyone. So if you haven’t started doing it yet, get cracking!)
Finally, campaigning under island-wide voting will be really hard. I can’t advise you on it properly, because I’ve never done it before – none of us have, not like this. What I can say is that you’ve got a very short amount of time (four weeks) to reach a very large number of people – maybe 30,000 voters. So, if you want to have a big impact, you need to plan in advance how you’re going to use your time. Budgeting time for the right things is even more important if you’re going to be working full- or part-time during the campaign period.
Over the next few posts, I will look at some of the things you might want to take into consideration if you’re putting together a schedule for the campaign period. Just a couple of tips to get started:
First, don’t schedule it too tightly! Things will come up. But have a sense of what proportion of your time you want to use for answering emails, face-to-face engagement, social media, and so on. Different things will take priority from day to day, but try and keep to your time budget (if you think it’s right) over the course of a week. If it’s not right – adapt it.
And second, make sure you put key dates in your diary as soon as they emerge. There will be a Meet the Candidates event at Beau Sejour on September 20th (it’s in the guidance) – do you want to be there? Get it in your calendar. There will no doubt be hustings and events on various themes, organised by different groups. Decide which ones matter to you, and make it a priority to be there.
Standing for election is a big deal, and there’s no one right way to do it. If you are well-prepared, you will have structure and content to fall back on, which are two very useful things. Candidates who try to wing it at election time always struggle, and island-wide voting will magnify that. But nothing ever goes perfectly to plan, so try not to let it stress you out – take it in your stride, and maybe even enjoy it now and then!