This was first published on this blog on 9th April 2008 and then again on 3rd April 2012. We do like reuse and recycling here at Barkingside 21.
The closing date for registering to vote is Monday 18th April 2016. You can now register on-line.
For details and eligibility see this page on Redbridge-i.
We will get 3 voting papers.
1. To elect the Mayor of London: this ballot paper is Pink
This is done on a Supplementary Vote system where you have two votes, one for your first choice and one for your second choice. The first choice votes are counted and if any candidate has more than 50% of first choice votes cast, then they are declared the winner. If not, there is a run-off between the two candidates with the highest number of first choice votes. All the other candidates are eliminated and any second choice votes for the two remaining candidates from those eliminated candidates ballot papers are added to their totals. The candidate with the highest total wins, or if a tie, lots are drawn by the returning officer. Therefore votes can only be transferred to the top two candidates. Any other second choice votes will be wasted. For a second choice to count, voters need to predict which of the candidates will be the "top two" after the first choice votes have been counted.
2. To elect Constituency Assembly members: this ballot paper is Yellow.
This is done on a straightforward first-past-the-post system. The candidate with the most votes wins, irrespective of their percentage of total votes cast. There are 14 constituency seats; here we are Havering and Redbridge.
3. To elect London Wide Assembly members: this ballot paper is Orange.
This is the complicated bit. Otherwise known as the list section, there are 11 Assembly seats allocated via this vote. You have one vote which you may cast for a party or an individual. The parties put forward a list [in order of preference] of up to 11 candidates, but if there is only one candidate you would effectively be voting for an individual.
This is done on the "d’Hondt formula" [don’t ask] which takes into account the political make-up of the already decided Constituency Assembly Member seats above. It is used to proportionally allocate the remaining 11 seats to the parties or individuals according to their total London-wide vote. This is to ensure, as far as is possible, that the make up of the Assembly reflects the way London has voted as a whole.
It is quite possible for a Party to receive a substantial percentage of votes in the constituency elections but have no [or few] member[s] elected. It is likely that this party will do well in this section, even if they receive less votes than other parties in this section.
Conversely, it is quite possible for a party to have a high number of elected members in the constituency section, which is not reflected by their total percentage of the vote. This party is likely to fair badly in this section even if they have a high percentage of votes in this section. This is also the section where minor parties pick up seats.
The way the system works in this section is that votes for a party that already has its fair share of the seats are counted less favourably than those cast for a party which does not yet have a fair share.
Voters need to consider this very carefully if they wish their vote here to have maximum impact. Given that this section favours medium to small parties who have not done well in the constituency section relative to their share of the vote, voters may wish to consider which of those they prefer over those they do not.
Finally, one thing that voters should be aware of is that whoever gets to be elected as Mayor of London, he or she will need only 9 [that’s NINE] Assembly Members to vote their budget through. That’s 9 out of 25, Yes, a ONE THIRD majority [sic!] is all that is required.
You can also find advice and information at London Elects, a politically neutral site.