On Thursday, September 23 the Manx public will go to the polls to elect their MHKs for the next five years.
Unlike Gef, not everyone is obsessed with Tynwald and keeps track of what it is that our MHKs do and for some people this election will represent either the first time they have been allowed to vote or the first time they want to vote.
To help break this down, Gef has taken a look at what it is we’re being asked to vote for and what the people we elect do.
The most important part here, before anything else, is to make sure that you are registered to vote, otherwise you won’t be able to do so. To register, click here.
What Are We Voting For?
On Thursday, September 23, residents will be able to vote for a maximum of two candidates in their constituency. The constituency you vote in is based on where you live, if you don’t know your constituency, you can find out here by entering your address or postcode.
The island has 12 constituencies, each with two MHKs. Rather than being driven by town and parish boundaries, constituencies are based on population figures with each constituency having roughly an equal number of voters. This is why Douglas, for example, is divided into four constituencies, while the sparsely populated Ayre and Michael constituency covers such a large area but only has two MHKs.
How to Vote
We’ll get more into this closer to the time, but essentially you can vote for up to two candidates in your constituency. You may only choose one candidate or you may choose to spoil your ballot, but you get two votes. There is also the option to vote by post or by proxy, which Gef will cover once the application forms are made available.
So you’ve voted, gone home and now you are waiting to discover who has won your constituency and will be your MHK, but what do they do?
As a member of Tynwald, MHKs can help you in a variety of ways, from making private enquiries on your behalf, to raising matters publicly in the House of Keys and Tynwald. As well as raising questions from constituents, MHKs also introduce and debate legislation in both Tynwald and the House of Keys. They also choose who runs the gov and nine lucky MHKs get to be ministers. Other MHKs also fill roles such as chairing boards including the Post Office and the Manx Utility Authority as well as powerful bodies such as the Planning Committee.
Tynwald has never been that keen on giving the public the right to choose the island’s Chief Minister. Previously it had been the whole of Tynwald which would choose the Chief. However, after a change to the law during this administration, only MHKs will get a vote in choosing Howard Quayle’s successor.
This is done by way of a ballot after MHKs nominate the member they are backing. A simple majority of just 13 people will give that person the power to appoint ministers and run the gov until 2026. The Chief Minister, alongside their Council of Ministers (CoMin) exists to create a collectively responsible gov which creates policies and strategies for the island.