A Royal Commission of 1607 identified a body of "...the Bailiff and Jurats, with the Constables and Dozens of every parish" to elect the Jurats of the Royal Court. By the 1770s, this assembly was distinctly known as the States of Election.
Election was for a man's lifetime and an election could be against a man's will. Invariably a person elected to the office of Jurat was a person with the financial wherewithal to devote unpaid time to the office. Jurats took on a range of responsibilities in the administration of the Island.
There was a fundamental review of Guernsey's constitution and machinery of government following the Second World War and The Reform (Guernsey) Law, 1948, as amended, in Parts II and III, prescribes the constitution, function and quorum of the States of Election.
The States of Election is constituted by:
The 16 Jurats
The 10 Rectors
H. M. Procureur
H. M. Comptroller
The 45 People's Deputies
34 Douzaine Representatives, elected by the Douzaines as follows:
9 from St. Peter Port
5 from St. Sampson
5 from the Vale
5 from the Castel
4 from St. Martin
2 from St. Saviour
1 from St. Pierre du Bois
1 from Torteval
1 from the Forest
1 from St. Andrew
The Reform (Guernsey) (Amendment) Law, 2003 provides that the States of Deliberation may vary by resolution the allocations of the number of Douzaine Representatives from each parish to reflect the sizes of the populations in each parish.
The sole function of the States of Election is to elect persons to the office of Jurat. No candidate is declared elected unless he has polled a number of votes greater than one half of the number of members present at the meeting. Voting is by secret ballot irrespective of the number of candidates. Not more than one vacancy shall be filled at any one meeting of the States of Election.
Douzaine Representatives are not bound to vote in accordance with any direction given to them by the Douzaines which they represent. They are free on all occasions to cast their votes in accordance with their conscience.