In a high turnout election, voters in London, England, headed to the polls yesterday to choose their mayor and city legislature. The city uses a “supplementary vote” system, in which voters indicate their first and second choice for mayor. If no candidate wins a majority of voters’ first choices, an instant runoff between the two candidates with the most votes takes place. The ballots of voters who listed other candidates as their first choice now count for their second choice—if their second choice was one of the top-two candidates.
Both Labour Party candidate, Sadiq Khan, and Conservative candidate, Zac Goldsmith, received more than a third of the vote each in a twelve candidate race. The Green Party and Liberal Democrat candidates both received about 5% a piece. Since no candidate had majority support at the end of the first round, the counting continues by taking the second choices of voters’ for unsuccessful candidates, including the Green and Liberal Democrat candidates, into account.
Unlike in many American elections, London voters do not have to choose between voting their conscience for potential “spoiler” candidates and having a say on the two front-runner candidates.