How do I know who is on the Electoral Roll?

Only people who have signed up to the Electoral Roll will be allowed to vote in this Election.

(Voters – even if you have voted in past Elections, you need to sign up again this time! You have until Friday 21 August to do so. You can do so online via the Elections website.)

You only have a limited amount of time to get your message across to people in the month between nominations opening and Election Day, so you will probably want to concentrate your efforts on people who are actually able to vote.

This matters less if the majority of your campaigning happens online. If you’re putting information out in a public forum, it’ll be accessed by people who aren’t voters and people who are, and that’s fine – it doesn’t cost you anything extra in terms of time or effort.

If you are answering emails, I would just take people at face value and assume they are potential voters. You’ll waste more time in a back-and-forth email exchange – “can you tell me if you’re on the Electoral Roll before I answer your questions?” – than if you just get on with it and answer them.

(If it turns out they’re not on the role, just chalk it up as useful practice! Other voters will have the same kind of questions, and you’ll have spent a bit of time knocking your thoughts into shape in order to reply to this person.)

Knowing whether or not someone is on the Electoral Roll matters most if you’re planning on going door-to-door. Canvassing this way can be very time-consuming, so it matters that you focus the limited time you have on households that are actually signed up to vote.

You can do this by requesting a copy of the Electoral Roll when you submit your nomination. There’s more information in the official candidates’ guide. If you do this, you will essentially be receiving a set of 30,000 people’s contact details, and you will be responsible for keeping that safe in accordance with Data Protection requirements. (You mustn’t pass it on to anyone else, you mustn’t use it for anything other than canvassing, and you’re not entitled to keep it after the Election.)

If you are planning to canvass a particular street, you can use the Electoral Roll to check which of the houses on that street are home to a potential voter (or voters). You can then focus your time on knocking on those doors, rather than stopping at every door and just hoping for the best!

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Do I need to worry about data protection?

You need to know what your data protection responsibilities are as an Election candidate. These are explained in the official candidates’ guidance (page 19).

At this stage, it’s fairly straightforward. If you want to get a copy of the Electoral Roll – which is a list of all voters’ names and addresses – you will need to register with the Data Protection office (ODPA). You will be responsible for keeping your copy of the Electoral Roll safe, and for returning it at the end of the campaign period.

Once you are elected, the data protection responsibilities are much more wide-ranging and serious, and you will want to get your head around these early on. But for now, the message is, make sure you register with the ODPA if you want a copy of the Electoral Roll – this should be explained when you submit your nomination, in any event – and don’t misuse people’s contact details or pass them on to people who shouldn’t have them.

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When do I have to make my decision?

As soon as possible!

You have until 21 August 2020 to register on the electoral roll. If you don’t register, you won’t be eligible to stand.

The timeframe for the Election itself is set out on the Election website. You need to know that nominations open on Tuesday 1 September and close at 4pm (four o’clock in the afternoon, for the avoidance of any doubt!) on Friday 4 September. If you want to be a candidate in the 2020 Election, you need to get your nomination in during that short window.

There are some important things you need to get ready before nominations even open. You need to have a proposer and seconder who are willing to put you forward as a candidate. And you need to have prepared your manifesto – especially the bit that goes in the combined manifesto booklet, because you’ll be asked to provide that straight away. (Keep an eye on the Election website for guidance so that you know what to prepare.)

And then you need to hit the ground running. Election Day is on 7 October. Advance polling will open from 3 October. People who are using postal votes might fill out their votes even earlier than that. So you need to be ready to start getting your message out to people from the start of the campaign period, with plenty of time for them to find out more and make up their mind to support you.

If you’re interested in standing, but haven’t quite made up your mind yet, I would be more than happy to meet up for a coffee and talk it over with you, if you’d like to get in touch. I’m sure other Deputies would be just as happy to do so.

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Before we start: Register to Vote

You have until Friday 21 August, 2020 to get yourself on the Guernsey Electoral Roll.

You can sign up to the Electoral Roll at . If you have any problems with the online form, you can get in touch with the team here and they will do what they can to help you.

You must sign up again, even if you have been on the Electoral Roll for past elections. If you don’t sign up, you won’t be allowed to vote in the 2020 Election, and you won’t be allowed to stand as a candidate.

Please don’t leave it until the last minute!

You will be able to vote for up to 38 candidates in this Election – our first experience of Island-Wide Voting. In past Elections, you only had 5 or 6 votes. This is a big change – it means a lot more manifestos to read, a lot more candidates to consider, and possibly a lot more time spent deciding who you want to vote for.

This means we are trying to offer more options for the way you cast your vote, to give you the time and space you need.

You’ll have the option of voting in your parish on Election Day, just like you’ve always done. Or you might want to vote at an island-wide “Super Polling Station” closer to your workplace or school, if that is more convenient for you.

If you would prefer, you can vote at an “Advance Polling Station” before Election Day (at the weekend and on the Tuesday before the final Election Day on the Wednesday). Or you can sign up for a postal vote, fill it out at home, and send it or drop it back in.

You can get in touch with the Electoral Roll team to request a postal vote, even if you didn’t ask for one when you originally signed up to the Roll.

More information about polling station venues and voting options will be available on If we need to take any special measures because of COVID-19, closer to Election time, will also be the place to look for information about that.

If you don’t sign up to the Electoral Roll, you don’t have a vote and you don’t have a right to stand in the Election.

Please encourage your friends and family to sign up to the Electoral Roll if they haven’t yet done so.

And please register to vote today.   

Go back to Getting Into Guernsey Politics
Go back to Section 1.1: Making the Decision
Register to Vote