What is a by-election and why is one happening in Douglas South?

It’s probably fair to say that the Manx people are now more aware of who their political leaders are than ever before, after some of the most turbulent few months in our history during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So perhaps you’re keen to understand (and take part in) the island’s elections – but you’re not exactly sure what’s what.

There’s been lots of chatter about the Douglas South by-election – here’s a rundown of the basic facts.

What is a by-election?

It happens when there’s a vacancy in a constituency seat. Douglas South’s seats were filled by Kate Costain and Bill Malarkey.

This by-election was triggered when Mr Malarkey died in February. Ms Costain is also no longer in her seat after she resigned earlier this month.

When was the last general election on the island?


How many people voted in it in Douglas South?

3,149 votes were counted in the constituency. Ms Costain won 1,134 and Mr Malarkey won 952.

If you really want to do your homework, you can read a more detailed breakdown of the 2016 general election results here [https://www.gov.im/media/1353347/2016-general-election-results-and-turnout.pdf].

So when will Douglas South’s polling stations open to voters?

August 27 between 8am and 8pm after it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Any electors who are unable or unwilling to vote in person on the day can apply for an advance vote or appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf.

Where are the stations?

Pulrose Methodist Church, Anagh Coar Primary School and Scoill Vallajeelt.

What do you need to do to stand for election?

Candidates needed to submit their nomination papers to the Returning Officer between 10am on 22 July and 1pm on 29 July.

Can anyone run for MHK?

There are a few criteria you’ll have to meet, such as being:

  • at least 18 years old

  • either a British citizen or having the right to remain on the island

  • ordinarily resident on the island and have been so for a period of, or periods amounting in the aggregate to, five years or more

You don’t need to live in the constituency you’re running for MHK in.

You can find a long list of requirements and more guidance here [https://www.gov.im/categories/home-and-neighbourhood/elections-and-voting/douglas-south-by-election-2020/candidates/].

Who’s standing for the positions?

There are 10 candidates standing: 

  • Anthony Allen

  • Pamela Jane Birnie-Malarkey

  • Claire Sarah Beverley Christian

  • Ian James Clanton

  • David Anthony Fowler

  • Andrew Charles Richard Jessopp

  • Michael Derek Josem

  • Kevin Oliphant-Smith

  • Lon Pinkerton

  • Stephen Paul Quine

What do I need to do to vote?

You need to be on the electoral register to vote in a Manx election – you can do that here [https://www.gov.im/categories/home-and-neighbourhood/elections-and-voting/register-to-vote/].

To vote in the Douglas South by-election, you need to be registered as a constituent there.

The legal voting age on the Isle of Man is 16 and over – here’s a full guide on how to vote [https://www.gov.im/media/1369773/guide-for-voters-douglas-south-by-election-2020-170520.pdf].

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