The first ever Electoral Commission for the Isle of Man has been appointed.
It is a new body, with a role to review the number and boundaries for House of Keys Constituencies and other issues that have come to light in the previous 10 years.
In 2013 the previously appointed Boundary Committee were required under S11 (5) of The Representation of the People Act 1995 to make recommendations to Tynwald for the administration of a fair and transparent electoral process. The Boundary Committee recommended constituencies should be of
- Equal number of representatives
- Equivalent size of population
- Reviewed after every 2nd Election
The recommendations of the Committee led to 12 equal constituencies being established, each represented by 2 Members of the House of Keys, with an average population of around 7,000 (subject to a variation of up to 15%.) You can access these reports. The newly appointed Electoral Commission is required, via the Elections (Keys and Local Authorities) Act 2020 to consider afresh constituencies and boundaries; the number of members per constituency and whether population should be the sole guide to constituency size. The same legislation provides for the Commission to review other matters such as Tynwald directs.
Remit and Work of the Commission
At its sitting in July 2022 Tynwald agreed that
“In addition to reviewing the number and boundaries of constituencies (which will include the number of seats per constituency) the Electoral Commission must consider and produce a report to Tynwald on the following matters:
- Accessibility of elections to voters;
- The organisation of Pre-Election Meetings;
- Postal voting procedures;
- Proxy voting procedures;
- Ability to vote at any polling station across a constituency;
- The feasibility of setting up one or more "All Island" Polling stations;
- Candidate campaign materials;
In doing so, they shall have due regard to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures and to the potential costs of its recommendations.”
The members appointed to the Electoral Commission are:
- Sally Bolton (Chair)
- Nigel Davis
- Michelle Norman
- Karen Ramsay
- Peter Whiteway
The Electoral Commission must report their findings and recommendations to Tynwald, within 18 months of their appointment. Full terms of reference can be seen within the downloadable documents section.
The Electoral Commission have a working project timeline which can be viewed in the downloadable documents section on this page. This is a live document and is subject to change. It provides an outline of the work planned to be done by the Commission.
Have your say, submit your views
The Commission will consider evidence and data from a wide range of sources whilst considering the multi-faceted aspects of the resolution made by Tynwald. They will be speaking to as many diverse but relevant parties as possible in respect to the conduct of elections on the Isle of Man; considering matters of concern or excellence; gathering data evidence and inviting public consultation around these areas.
The Electoral Commission appreciates that local knowledge can help inform and improve any subsequent proposals. They would welcome public participation in the consultative and evidence gathering process. As a discussion starter, the Commission has developed an initial set of questions as within the downloadable documents section on this page that you may wish to assist you and consider when providing your evidence.
During 2023, the Commission will issue a public consultation document incorporating all of the areas that they have been asked to consider. A link to this consultation document will be added to these pages when the document becomes live. The Commission would encourage as much participation in any consultation document as possible. Public meetings around the Island are also planned for 2023. These will enable contributions to be put to the Commission in person and an opportunity for robust discussions. These meetings will be publicised and information shared on these pages as well as via Isle of Man Government social media pages.
Should you feel that you have a contribution to make around the areas being considered by the Commission you can make contact with the secretariat for the Commission to do so at any time via e mail: email@example.com; by calling (01624) 685 201 or in writing, FAO: Mrs J Bridson, c/o Electoral Commission Coordinator, Third Floor, Government Buildings, Douglas IM1 3PN.
Electoral Commission Members (L-R) ; P Whiteway, K Ramsay, M Norman; S.Bolton and N.Davis