Second Preference: A Second Chance?

Milli is 24, a languages graduate interested in politics, the local community, and all things food.

On Thursday 5 May, voters in the 2016 London mayoral election will be faced with more choice than ever before. On the ballot will be the names of the fifteen candidates vying for your vote. If you’re anything like myself and struggle to make even the simplest of decisions then this may be something of an ordeal. Yet what differentiates this from the likes of the general election, besides the obvious election of a London Mayor, is its Supplementary Vote (SV) system. This means that all voters will be given a first and second preference vote. The latter, however, is optional. Links providing a more in depth explanation on how it all works, can be found at the end of the post. And having educated myself, I reckon it would make a great twist to the voting on X Factor’s next series but we are here to discuss politics.

The reason I bring this up is due to the Green Party’s recent refusal to endorse either Sadiq Khan or Zac Goldsmith for their second preference vote. Fair enough but could the SV system have a significant impact on the outcome of the mayoral election? Statistically the eventual winner more often than not scoops up the most first preference votes. In 2012 Boris Johnson won on second preference votes despite Ken Livingstone gaining more second round/transfer votes, and consequently narrowing the gap. However, based on previous elections SV tends to favour candidates closer to the political centre. So, what does this mean for Zac and Sadiq? In the spirit of impartiality I will refrain from speculating. That said, I would caution you to use your vote(s) wisely.

Further reading: