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Feedback sought on electoral modernisation

Monday, 25 November 2019

Public feedback is being sought on proposals aimed at modernising the Isle of Man’s electoral system.

The Isle of Man Government is inviting views on the Registration of Electors Bill 2020 and the Elections (Keys and Local Authorities) Bill 2020.

The new legislation is focused on providing greater clarity, simplicity and consistency, as well as addressing the issues that came to light during the 2016 House of Keys general election.

The consultation document and supporting information is available to view on the Government website at https://consult.gov.im.

People are encouraged to respond by completing the online questionnaire or by writing to electionconsultation@gov.im or Election Consultation, Crown & Elections, Cabinet Office, Government Office, Bucks Road, Douglas, IM1 3PN.

The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Monday 6 January 2020.

Feedback will be taken into account ahead of the two Bills beginning their passage through the branches of Tynwald.

The aim is to have the new legislation in place in advance of the 2021 House of Keys general election.

Policy and Reform Minister Chris Thomas MHK, the Member responsible for taking the legislation through Tynwald, said:

‘Ensuring that elections are properly administered is an important Crown function and one that is vital in maintaining the public’s confidence in the democratic process. The proposed changes would improve the system for all elections in the Isle of Man and put the voter at the heart of the process.’

The Registration of Electors Bill 2020 supports a new approach based on the principle of individual and continuous registration.

Electors will remain on the register for life, or until such time as they permanently cease to be an Isle of Man resident. Individuals, rather than the head of household, will be responsible for the accuracy of their information and it will be possible to make any revisions on a rolling basis.

The Elections (Keys and Local Authorities) Bill 2020 proposes to repeal and replace the Representation of the People Act 1995 and the Local Elections Act 1986 and to consolidate election rules within one single piece of primary legislation.

Such an approach should lead to more consistency, clearer understanding and greater transparency.

The Bill sets out the matters common to House of Keys and local authority elections, such as methods of voting and election offences. Differences between the two, including the term of office and date of elections, are covered in separate provisions.

The Bill also proposes the introduction of postal voting on demand, a process for dealing with complaints that fall outside the election petition process and a mechanism for the recall of MHKs in certain prescribed circumstances.

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