If you’re elected, there’s a gap of about a week before you officially become a Deputy (when you’re “sworn in”). During that time, there may be a recount, which could result in some people changing position. But there’s important work to do in the week before swearing-in, so don’t hang about waiting for the results of a recount – if it happens, it happens, and you can deal with it as it comes.
Swearing in will happen on the morning of Friday 16th October. Until the night of Thursday 15th October, the previous States are officially still the government. You take over when you’re sworn in. Make sure this date is in your calendar, and you’ve found cover for any other responsibilities you might have: it’s not something you can miss.
When you are sworn in, you make a promise to serve the Island and the Crown to the best of your ability. I have written about that here. The important thing to know is that you can choose between an oath (which has a kind of religious meaning) and an affirmation. You should be offered the option – but if you’re not, and you have strong feelings about this, then just ask whoever is in touch with you about the arrangements for the swearing in.
(For what it’s worth, I chose the affirmation. My belief in god is sketchy at best but, more to the point, I strongly believe in the total separation of Church and State. My promise to the community is exactly that – a vow between me and the people I’d been elected to serve – and it stands alone. But I know some of my colleagues feel the opposite – that the promise you’re making to the community is so solemn and serious that it deserves to be made in the eyes of God. The choice you make is deeply personal, even if the swearing in itself is very public.)
Your swearing-in happens in the Royal Court. Friends and family can normally watch from the public gallery, if you want to bring them along. (Be mindful of everyone else – don’t pack the gallery with your supporters; leave space for others too.)
If you have any anxieties about what you should wear, or what you should do, or what the swearing-in itself would be like, talk to your fellow Deputies-elected who’ve done this before. I’m sure they’ll be able to set your mind at rest. Don’t stress about it! It’s just a fancy ceremony to start the term. What comes next is more important.
Starting on the afternoon of Friday 16 October, you’ll be thrown into a week of Committee Elections. First the President of P&R (on the 16th), then the members of that Committee (on Saturday 17th – don’t miss it). Then Committee Presidents on Monday 19th, and finally Committee Members on Wednesday 21st.
There is always a bit of movement in Committee membership during the term – but it’s hard to predict where, or when, so don’t bank on that. Think of this as picking the team you want to work with for the next 4.5 years. Those are quite serious decisions, with long-term consequences, so you need to be ready to make them when the time comes.
That’s why it’s so important to use the week between Election Day and swearing-in to get to know the other people who will be in the States with you. You might have met or made friends with some on the campaign trail, but I bet there will be others you barely know as well. These are people who will be competing for your vote for a role, or wanting to serve alongside you (or with you as their President, or vice versa) on a Committee. Take time to get the measure of them now. Go along to the formal induction events you’ll be offered – although it will feel like too much information, and you’ll want to revisit it later in the term – but, above all, take time informally to get to know people. You’ve got some big decisions ahead.