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Frequently asked questions

When is the General Election?

The General Election is on Thursday 23rd September 2021.


How often do we have a General Election?

Every five years.


Who are we voting for?

24 members of the House of Keys.

Each constituency elects two Members of the House of Keys or MHKs.

There are 24 MHKs across 12 constituencies.


Why should I vote?

Voting is a demorcratic right offered to people over the age of 16 in the Isle of Man.

The people we vote into the House of Keys make decisions which affect our daily lives, so by choosing to vote you can have a say in the future of the Isle of Man.

Members of the House of Keys, or MHKs, make policy, pass laws and regulations and debate matters of national importance. They decide how public money is spent, money that comes from you through taxation.

If candidates are standing for re-election, it’s a chance for you to hold them to account for how they’ve performed since they were elected.

The General Election is a chance for you to have a say about issues that matter to you.


Who can vote?

You can vote in the Isle of Man’s General Election if you have reached the age of 16 and have lived in the Isle of Man for the past 12 months, and are not subject to any legal incapacity to vote. You can still vote if you’re away at university as long as you are registered at your Manx address.


Can I vote for the Chief Minister?

Not directly no. That decision is made by the House of Keys after the General Election. The Chief Minister will hold office until the next General Election. They may be removed from office by the House of Keys in a vote of no confidence.

Once the Chief Minister has been elected by the House of Keys, they will appoint ministers for each department including Health, Education and Treasury.  For more information about government departments click here.

There have been moves to force those intending to stand for Chief Minister to declare their intention before the General Election, but these have not been successful.


How do I make sure I can vote in the General Election?

You must be registered to vote. You can check if you’re registered by looking at the full electoral registers at any of these places:

Local Authority offices

  • General Registry (IOM Courts of Justice, Deemsters' Walk, Douglas)
  • Crown and Elections Unit (Cabinet Office, 3rd Floor, Government Office, Bucks Road, Douglas)
  • Tynwald Library (Legislative Buildings, Finch Road, Douglas)

For more information about the electoral register visit this web page (Isle of Man Government - Register to Vote) or email elections@gov.im

This year you can also apply for a postal vote or apply to appoint a proxy which means someone else will vote on your behalf.


What happens on polling day?

On polling day, Thursday September 23rd, if you are voting in person, you go to your designated polling station which will be detailed on your polling card which will be sent to you by post in the week before the election. 

It’s a good idea to take your polling card along to your polling station when you go to vote.

You can find out exactly where your polling station is by putting your postcode in here.

The polls are open from 8am until 8pm.


How many people do I vote for?

All constituencies in the Isle of Man are two seat constituencies. This means each constituency will return the two candidates who get the most votes.

When you cast your vote, you are able to vote for your two preferred candidates.  You don’t have to vote for two candidates, you might only want to choose one.

Voting for more than two will mean your ballot paper is invalid and will be counted as a spoilt paper.


How many constituencies are there?

There are 12 two seat constituencies in the Isle of Man making up the 24 seats of the House of Keys.


Where’s my constituency?

You can use this handy tool to find out which constituency you’re in just by entering your postcode.

Isle of Man Government - Maps


How do I find out the election result?

Manx Radio will be broadcasting live from each count as the results are declared on Thursday 23rd.

There will also be comprehensive coverage online and on our social media channels.

Manx Radio’s Election programme will start at 6pm and continue until all the results are declared.


Who can stand for election?

You can stand for election in the Isle of Man if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are 18 years old
  • You are a British citizen or have the right to remain in the Island
  • You have normally been resident in the Isle of Man for at least five years (or a period that adds up to at least five years)
  • Be on the register of electors in the Isle of Man
  • You’re not disqualified from being a candidate  (for more on this contact the Crowns & Election team on 685754 or email elections@gov.im)

You can only stand in one constituency at the same election.


How do you stand as a candidate?

To stand as a candidate, you or someone else declares your intention to stand publicly. This can be done on the radio, in a newspaper or on social media.

It’s also a good idea to let the Crowns & Election team know that you wish to stand. You can call them on 685754 or email elections@gov.im

You will then need to be ‘nominated for election’, where your nomination is accepted by the Returning Officer for the constituency in which you’re standing.

You must hand in a completed set of nomination papers and a declaration of relevant interests form to the Returning Officer for the constituency in which you’re standing between 10am on Wednesday 18th August 2021 and Wednesday 25th August 2021. The time and place will be organised by the Returning Officer for your constituency. Find out more about the forms here Isle of Man Government - Forms for candidates

You will need someone to propose and second your nomination and at least 20 registered electors from the constituency in which you’re standing to “assent” your nomination.

Find out more useful information about the nomination process here.


What’s a Returning Officer?

The Chief Secretary is the person with overall administrative responsibility for the General Election, so is known as the Returning Officer.

Constituency Returning Officers, or Deputy Returning Officers, are the people officially in charge of making sure the election in each constituency is run properly and legally. Each constituency has their own.  They will be appointed by the Chief Secretary.

It’s a good idea for candidates to contact their constituency Returning Officer in the early stages of the election process, as they will be able to give them support and guidance. 

Voters who want to cast their vote by postal ballot will also need to submit an application to the Returning Officer for their constituency.  Postal voting application forms will be available nearer to the election.

You can find your constituency Returning Officer here


What’s the difference between the House of Keys, Legislative Council and Tynwald?

The House of Keys is the lower branch of Tynwald. It has 24 members (MHKs) who are elected by the public every five years from 12 constituencies around the Isle of Man. The House of Keys meets every Tuesday from October to June, apart from on the third Tuesday of the month when there is a Tynwald sitting. Their sittings are open to the public and start at 10am. You can also listen to question time, which is the first part of each sitting, live on Manx Radio’s AM 1368 frequency, online at www.manxradio.com or by downloading the Manx Radio smartphone app. 

The Legislative Council is the upper branch of Tynwald. It has 11 members (MLCs) who are voted in by the MHKs, with the exception of the Bishop and the Attorney General who automatically take their seats. The Bishop can cast a vote in LegCo but the Attorney General cannot. They meet in public every Tuesday from October to June, apart from the third Tuesday when there is a Tynwald sitting. Their sittings start at 10:30am.

Tynwald is the name given to the Isle of Man’s parliament, when both the House of Keys and the Legislative Council meet together. This happens in public on the third Tuesday of the month from October to June and on the third Tuesday of July. The Tynwald sittings start at 10:30am and are broadcast live on Manx Radio’s AM 1368 frequency, online at www.manxradio.com or by downloading the Manx Radio smartphone app.  You can also listen here Tynwald - Parliament of the Isle of Man - Live.

What's the Difference between Keys, Legco & Tynwald - YouTube


Postal Voting Deadlines:

The closing date for the receipt of postal voting applications is:

  • If the postal ballot paper is to be marked within the Isle of Man - 15th September
  • If the postal ballot paper is to be marked within the British Isles, but outside the Isle of Man - 9th September
  • If the postal ballot paper is to be marked overseas (outside the IOM and the British Isles) 31st August

The dates are based on recommendations provided by the Isle of Man Post Office

Postal ballots completed by electors must be sent back to the Returning Office for the Constituency by 5pm on 22nd September.

If someone applies for a postal vote but doesn't mail it back in time, they can hand deliver it to a polling station in their constituency between 8am and 8pm on polling day - 23rd September


What’s Manx Radio’s role in the election?

Manx Radio’s role is to bring you the impartial information you need to make decisions about who to vote for, as well as details of how and where you vote.

Our journalists will challenge candidates on their pledges, and if they are already MHKs, they will be questioned on their record since they were elected.

There will be a range of opportunities for you to find out about the candidates standing in your constituency, and your contributions are also very welcome.

If you have any questions for prospective candidates please click here.


Where can I go for more information?

For more information about the General Election click here Isle of Man Government - Elections and Voting

You can also look through these documents if you are considering standing for election.


Notice any mistakes?

If there’s something you see on this website is incorrect please let us know as soon as possible, and we will amend or remove where necessary.  To let us know about a mistake, please click here.