Polling Station

London’s complex electoral systems contribute to invalid votes

15 November 2016
  • The 2016 elections for the Mayor and London Assembly saw a record turnout of 46.1 per cent of registered voters.
  • 2.6 million people voted on each of the three ballot papers for their Mayoral candidate, Assembly constituency and Assembly list member.
  • Approximately 7.8 million ballot papers were counted.

However, nearly two thirds (64.6%), that’s over 32,000 of rejected first-choice votes were due to people voting for too many candidates as their first choice.  This indicates that there may still be confusion about the supplementary vote system used to elect the Mayor of London.

The report into the May 2016 London elections from the London Assembly Election Review Panel is released today.  It makes a number of recommendations including:

  • Guidance/explanation options should be tested with voters in order to improve clarity and reduce rejected votes.
  • The Government should review the risks of holding polls on the same day. Government should look at the possibility of moving the Mayoral and London Assembly elections to 26 October 2020, or later.
  • For the 2020 GLA election every polling station should be prepared to record any incident in a log book, including any person’s name and address if they are unable to vote for any reason.

Election Review Panel Chair, Len Duvall AM said:

“It’s clearly very worrying that London’s voters are confused by the three different voting systems in place. This needs to be addressed with urgency to ensure proper voter education is provided. 

That education is even more important for 2020, when the implications of a general election and the London elections on the same day would cause even more confusion.

Given the scale and the different types of election methodology which apply, there really is no other option than to move the 2020 London elections to October, or later.”

Notes to editors

  1. The report is attached
  2. Len Duvall AM, Chair of the Election Review Panel, is available for interview – see contact details below.
  3. Election Review Panel
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Alison Bell on 020 7983 4228.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer.  Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

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