Mayoral election vote system prompts fears of confusion

By Adam Ray
Published October 15th 2003 in This Is Local London

Londoners could be forgiven some confusion when they go to the polls next June, to cast five different votes: Two choices for a Mayor, two London Assembly members, and a Member of the European Parliament.

Fortunately, for the perplexed voter, a new website, run by the Greater London Returning Officer, has been set up to help Londoners make sense of the 2004 elections.

The ‘London Elects’ website is being offered as a ‘one-stop shop’ for voters, journalists, and electoral officers, ahead of the June 12 voting day.

Andrew Nye, head of communications for London Elects, an independent unit under the London returning officer, said many voters knew little about the workings of the Mayor of London and London Assembly before the 2000 elections.

This level of uncertainty was exacerbated by the use of proportional voting for the first time in the capital.

“As a result, many people may not have felt they had sufficient information to cast their vote.” Voter turnout for the 2000 election was about 34 per cent.

Mr Nye said the 2004 election would be different because the London Elects was already on promotion and information, with a 12-month lead-in period.

“We are ensuring Londoners have access to the information they need.” The London Elects website offers information in English and 18 other languages, and will be adding more information and updates as the election draws closer.

A special Mayoral address book will also be produced, with a brief manifesto from candidates, to be distributed in May.