How the Greater Manchester Mayoral Election uses the Supplementary Vote system

Hyde Town Hall
Hyde Town Hall photograph by Mikey, 2011 (Creative Commons License: Some Rights Reserved)

If you’ve received your copy of the 4 May booklet through the post, you will have read the statements of each candidate. Instead of sending you a clump of leaflets through the post, they have added all the leaflets inside a nifty A5 booklet, plus details on how to vote. A cheap yet very cheerful option.

Most striking for some voters is a change of voting system. Instead of the First Past The Post system (which you get at Local Elections and this year’s General Election), the Mayoral Elections will use the Supplementary Vote.

When you vote on the 04 May, you have a first preference and a second preference option. If you only want to vote for one candidate, your vote could be wasted without a second preference (if he or she didn’t get elected). The winning candidate has to get a majority of the vote.

At the first point of asking, the leading candidate must have a majority. If not, this goes to another round, where the first choice votes of all but the top two candidates are eliminated. Therefore, the second preference votes of those who voted for the eliminated candidates are added to the top two finishers. In this simulation:

First Round:

  • Claire Townson, Labour: 26,781 (45.74%);
  • Leonard Wright, Conservative: 13,158 (22.47%);
  • Derek Howard Pinner, UKIP: 12,631 (21.74%);
  • Joanne Jackson, Liberal Democrats: 4,256 (7.26%);
  • Danny Blake, Green Party: 1,543 (2.63%);
  • Richard Gervais, Independent: 178 (0.30%).

Electorate: 58,547.

Required figure for majority of votes: 29,274.

Under First Past The Post, Claire Townson would have been elected as the first Labour mayor of Greater Manchester. As the winning candidate has to have a majority of the votes, Claire Townson’s fortunes depend on the Second Choice votes.

Second Round:

  • Claire Townson, Labour: 26,781 (45.74%);
  • Leonard Wright, Conservative: 13,158 (22.47%).

In the Second Round, we see the elimination of all candidates apart from the top two. Therefore, we have 18,608 Second Choice votes to add to their totals. Some of the UKIP voters might have opted for Leonard Wright as their second preference. Those who voted for Daniel Blake might have had Claire Townson as their second choice.

In this example, the number of second choice votes were as follows:

  • Leonard Wright, Conservative: 10,467;
  • Claire Townson, Labour: 8,141.

With the second choice votes added to the list, the result is as follows:

  • Claire Townson, Labour: 34,922 (59.6%);
  • Leonard Wright, Conservative: 23,625 (40.4%).

Therefore, Claire Townson is duly elected as the first Labour mayor of Greater Manchester.

On the ballot paper, you could choose an Independent candidate as your first choice, then a candidate of one of the main parties. Using the last local elections as an example, with the Dukinfield Ward, you could vote for Dave Tate (Independent) as your first choice. Then you could place your second choice vote next to John Taylor (Labour).

It is also worth noting that you cannot place two votes next to the same candidate. This will invalidate your vote. Likewise with placing your cross in the Second Choice column instead of the First Choice one.

In Condensed Form…

Take a look at our infographic. You may have had a sneak preview of it on the East of the M60 Facebook page, but we have republished it on the blog, for those who have missed out.

GM Mayor Supplementary Vote information graphic

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Your Greater Manchester Mayoral Candidates:

  • Andy Burnham, Labour;
  • Will Patterson, The Green Party of England and Wales;
  • Sean Anstee, Conservative Party;
  • Shneur Odze, United Kingdom Independence Party;
  • Mohammed Aslam, Independent;
  • Marcus Farmer, Independent;
  • Jane Brophy, Liberal Democrats;
  • Stephen Morris, English Democrats.

*                               *                              *

Next up on It’s Up The Poll! 2017

We shall be looking at the policies for Greater Manchester Mayoral Election candidates. Stay tuned for further announcements.

S.V., 20 April 2017.

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