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No Automatic Voter Registration Before 2022 Election

Automatic voter registration in Jersey won't be in place for yet another election.

The States Assembly agreed to start work towards introducing the system in 2016.

But the Privileges and Procedures Committee says the estimated cost of doing this would likely be considerably more than the £100,000 budgeted for it.

The committee also highlighted issues with the length of time needed to do it and the additional resources that would be required.

Modernising Jersey's election registration process was included in the Common Strategic Policy adopted by the States in 2018, following an amendment by the then PPC Vice Chair, Deputy Scott Wickenden.

Funding of £100,000, spread across three years, was included in the Government Plan for 2020-23.

More detailed requirements were drawn up in the first half of 2021, which would have to be completed for the new system to be successful.

However, when the officer leading the project changed last summer, the States Greffier raised concerns about whether a new system could be introduced in time for the 2022 election and invited the incoming project manager to conduct a project health check.

It found that the estimated cost of the project was likely to be higher than previously anticipated, with an estimate of 56 weeks' work to create, test, and introduce the new system.

With islanders due to take to the polls in the 2022 General Election on the 22nd June, committee members hoped the system would have been in place.

PPC Chairwoman, Deputy Carina Alves told Channel 103 how disappointed she is in the outcome:

"It was something I campaigned on from the beginning of my political career. I wanted to bring about much more awareness of our political system.

"Having been born here and completed all my schooling in Jersey, I was aware how poor the political awareness is."

PPC Chair, Deputy Carina Alves

Deputy Alves explained that the current system is time-consuming and could've been avoided by switching to the proposed model.

"Every year you get these papers sent through the door. That's not just time consuming for people, it's also costly for us.

So this whole body of work would've bypassed this and made things much easier. It would've just been an automatic process and we would've have to ask people to register to vote every time there was an election, because it just would've been done."

Plans to move to an automatic electoral system have been halted until after the next election, and will be considered by the next Privileges and Procedures Committee.

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