2018 Elections

Voting for Watford's new Mayor - how it works

The way we vote for elected mayors in England and Wales is different to how we usually vote. When Watford voters go to vote on 3 May to choose their next elected mayor, the supplementary voting system will apply.

Under supplementary voting, you get the opportunity for a first preference choice and also a second preference choice. This means the ballot paper looks different from the ones people use to vote for local council and general parliamentary elections. 

The ballot paper lists the name of each candidate along with their party name, party logo and their address. There are two columns next to each name. Watford voters will be asked to vote for their first-choice candidate by marking a cross (X) in the first-choice column, and vote for their second-choice candidate by marking a cross (X) in the second-choice column. As long as people mark one cross in the first-choice column, their vote can be counted.

If voters have marked a first-choice, they can choose to mark a second-choice. But if they only mark a cross in the second-choice column, their vote won't be counted. We have a huge number of spoilt papers at each mayoral election, often because voters have put their crosses (X) in the wrong column. This means your vote will not be counted.

At the election count, all first preference votes are counted. If a candidate receives more that 50% of the first preference votes on the first count, they are elected. If no candidate has more that 50% of the vote, the candidates that did not finish first or second are eliminated. The second choice votes of everyone from these eliminated votes are then checked if they are for either first or second choice candidates, and, if so, counted and added to the respective total.

Borough elections will also be taking place on 3 May but these elections use the traditional first past the post electoral system.

Supplementary vote ballot paper



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