Do I need to sign or swear anything?

You will have to sign and vouch various things, at various different stages of the Election process. The best place to start, as always, is the official candidates’ guide on the Election 2020 website.

Your election campaign starts with the nominations process. This is the time when you submit your name, supported by a proposer and seconder, to the Bailiff. This term, nominations open on Tuesday 1 September, and close at 4pm on Friday 4 September 2020. If you miss that window of opportunity, you won’t be able to stand for Election.

The nomination form is a standard document, which you can get from the Royal Court or download from the Elections website. As part of the form, you have to sign a declaration confirming that you are eligible to stand as a candidate, and whether or not you have any unspent criminal convictions. You also have to declare whether or not you are part of a political party (and which one).

That is the main formality at the start of the election period. At the end, of course, you’ll have to submit a statement of your expenses (regardless of whether you’ve been elected) – and if you are elected, there will be all sorts of other forms to fill in, as there always are at the start of any new job.

One thing I think it is worth knowing, at this stage, is that if you are successful, you will need to swear an oath of office. This is a promise to serve the Island to the best of your ability, and also to respect the Crown. I have to admit, I found the second bit hard. I could do it, because I wasn’t going into the States with any plans to try and change Guernsey’s constitutional position – but I’m not a natural monarchist, as you can probably imagine, so it involved a bit of wrestling with my conscience.

The promise to serve your community is more straightforward – after all, that’s why you’re standing for election. But I think it’s only right that you should know, before you make a decision to stand for office, exactly what you will be committing to when you are sworn in! The oath is mentioned in the candidates’ guidance, and I think you could request the full text from the Greffe if you wanted to.

P.S. “Swearing an oath” has religious connotations – it involves making a promise before whatever God you believe in. If you don’t believe in any God (or even if you do, but want to maintain a separation between Church and State) you have the option of “making an affirmation” instead. It is essentially the same promise, but with no divine dimension. When I was sworn in, there were just a handful of us who took that option, but that was fine.

Go back to Getting Into Guernsey Politics
Go back to Section 1.2: Getting Elected
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