Make the official candidates’ guide your best friend from now until the Election.
Rules about Elections are almost always set out in law. In Guernsey, the main law is called the Reform (Guernsey) Law, 1948, as amended. This provides the framework for our local elections, as well as other functions of the States and the parishes.
You can find all our laws on a website called GuernseyLegalResources.gg – you might want to keep a note of that, as it will be useful after you’re elected too. I always look for a version called a “consolidated text” if it’s available – this is a draft of the law which includes every amendment that has been made to it since it was first written. It isn’t the official form of the law, but it is the easiest way of finding out what the law actually covers at the moment.
As well as the Reform Law, election rules are set out in a number of smaller pieces of law, called Ordinances and Regulations. For example, spending rules for this election are set out in the Electoral Expenditure Ordinance, 2020. All of these are also available on the GuernseyLegalResources.gg website.
I’ve explained all this because if you want to know the letter of the law in respect of Elections, you’ll find it – unsurprisingly – in the laws themselves, and you need to know where to find those.
But laws can be difficult to read, and different rules are scattered across different pieces of law, so that’s why guidance is produced. There is an official guide for candidates on the 2020 Election website, and that is always going to be a good place to start if you want to establish what you can and can’t do as part of your campaign. (Predictably, the most complicated rules are about Election spending.)
Remember, if you can’t find what you need in the guide, or if you’re really unsure about something, don’t sit and stew. There are also FAQs on the Election website which might be helpful, and at the bottom of those, there are contact details for the Elections team. If you really can’t find an answer to your question, get in touch with them, and they will do their best to help.
P.S. If you were a States Member in the past, or if you stood in a previous election and didn’t get in, please don’t assume that the rules now are exactly the same as they were. Rules evolve from term to term, and island-wide voting has changed things even more than usual – so please take the time to look at this with fresh eyes, as if you were standing for the first time again.