As this is an Election like no other, it’ll probably take 24 hours between the last vote being cast at a polling station, and the results of the first count being announced. The counting won’t start until the morning of Thursday 8 October, and will go on for quite a while. Although a lot of training and planning has gone into this day, remember that the people doing the count have not done anything like this before — any more than you have — and it may take even longer than we expect. You’re bound to be on tenterhooks, but please be as patient as you can be.
In previous Elections, candidates have chosen to be present for the count — not necessarily watching the count itself (though some do) but waiting anxiously, in a room of other anxious candidates, for the results to be announced. This year, you probably won’t want to endure that, but you might be thinking about drifting towards Beau Sejour, later in the day, to see if you can catch the announcement in person.
Actually, let me say this. If the vote goes in your favour, and you’re elected, you will be thrown in the deep end of States’ business almost immediately. Even if it doesn’t, you have just spent several intense weeks campaigning across the Island. You’re probably exhausted, and you deserve a rest. For you, Election Day and Counting Day are the lull in the storm. You’ve done what you can to convince people to support you — many of the candidates I’ve had the pleasure of watching over the last few weeks have done a superb job. It’s out of your hands now. Try and put it out of your mind as well, at least for a little while, and do something really restful and restoring for the next couple of days. Stay under the duvet til noon. Or take yourself for a pamper. Or immerse yourself in music, or sport, or books. Or spend time with your family. Breathe. Relax.
Because once the Election result is announced, it really is all go.
There are some limited circumstances in which a recount is possible – these are explained in the candidates’ official guidance. If this happens, of course, it means a few more days will pass before you know for sure who has been elected and who hasn’t. (Because of the number of votes that will be cast, my guess is that several candidates will move up and down if there is any recount.) I know that wait will be hideous, and I’m sorry.
But recount or no, you’ll want to be ready – as soon as the (first) results are out, everything begins.
Whether or not you’re elected, the media will probably want to hear from you. One thing you could do now – in between relaxing! – is put together a couple of lines you can say to the media, preparing for both possible outcomes. The emotion of the moment is surprisingly strong – even if you don’t normally think of yourself as an emotional person – and it can be hard to gather your thoughts. You don’t want your last words on the campaign trail, or your first words as a new Deputy, to be some silly gaffe.
Apart from that, be ready to throw yourself into a whirlwind of induction meetings and Committee elections. These will be starting within a week of Election Day, so make the most of this time to network with your new colleagues – get to know what they’re interested in (and if you think they’d be any good at it), and let them know what you want to do.
You’ve been focused on getting yourself elected for the last few weeks – now you’ve suddenly got to switch your focus into building a team you think you can work with for the next 4.5 years. Do the work of getting to know each other, even if you have the question of a recount hanging over you – there is very little time to spare between Election Day and Committee elections, so you need to get stuck in.
Take a deep breath, and jump in. You got this far. You can do this!
And if you’re not elected, try not to be too disheartened – at least, not for long. You’ve done something incredible, and learned a lot, from the campaign alone. Take that and do something awesome with it – whether that’s starting to build towards next time (already!) or using those skills to do something for good in our community. There were 119 candidates for only 38 seats – it’s unavoidable that most people will be disappointed. That’s not a reflection on you, it’s just how it goes in a competitive election (and thank goodness we do have good, open, meaningful competition!). You can – and should – still be very proud of all you’ve done. Well done, and good luck for whatever comes next.