#LondonMayor2016: How not to lose your vote

The London Elects website is a great site for getting your head round the elections in May.  But we’ve made a handy crib sheet for making your vote count.

Two different voting systems will be used in May’s elections:

  • Voting for Mayor: The Supplementary Vote (SV)

  • Voting for Assembly Members: The Additional Member System (AMS).  

According to the Electoral Commission’s report 19% of people in the 2012 elections said found the use of the two systems confusing. So it’s important to know what to do if you want your vote to count. Today we are going to looking at how you vote for the next Mayor of London

Voting for Mayor

Did you know in the 2012 elections over half of votes were rejected because people put more than one cross in the first column; and almost a third were rejected because people put no cross in the first column at all?

When it comes to voting for the London Mayor, you get two votes a first and second preference.

Your first vote is your first preference vote, and is for the candidate you most want to be Mayor. For your ballot to be valid you MUST give a first preference vote – one cross in the first column.

However much you love your first preference you can’t vote for them twice. But you do get pick your next favourite as a second preference. Seriously trying to vote twice for your first preference is only going to waste your vote.

Your second vote is your second preference vote, and is for the candidate you would give your vote to if you could not give it to your first choice. For this to be valid you must choose a DIFFERENT candidate to the one you gave your first preference to, and your cross MUST be in the second column.

In 2012 over 200,000 people had their second preference votes discounted because they gave their first and second preference votes to the same candidate: this is not permitted under the election rules, which state that only the first choice vote can be allowed in these cases.


The most important thing to do is to go out and vote on 5th May, and to encourage as many people as possible to do the same.