The big day for Greater Manchester is upon us tomorrow, the 4 May, when we vote for our first democratically elected mayor of the region. Supplementary Voting will be used in this election rather than the First Past the Post (FPTP) system used in parliamentary and local elections. You may not be familiar with the Supplementary Voting system of voting which will be explained along with a list of the candidates that are standing and information on what they stand for.

Supplementary Voting (SV) is a shortened version of the Alternative Vote system that the British public voted against adopting in a 2011 referendum. In SV instead of just having one vote for your preferred candidate, as in FPTP, you have two votes to cast for your first choice and second choice candidate.

If a candidate gets more than 50% of the first choice votes then the election ends there and we have a new GM mayor. However, if no candidate gets more than 50% of the first choice votes the two candidates with the most votes go into a second round of counting, the rest are eliminated from the election.

It is at this stage that the second choice votes come into play. All second choice votes from the eliminated candidates, cast for the top two candidates still remaining in the election, are then counted and added to the remaining candidates first choice totals. The candidate with the highest overall total is declared the next Mayor of Greater Manchester. A more detailed working example of the SV system can be seen by clicking here. Although SV does offer more choice for the voter it is still classed by the Electoral Reform Society as a Majoritarian system of voting (like FPTP) rather than a Proportional Representation system.

The candidates in the GM mayoral election

This is the list of candidates you will see on your ballot paper plus links to their websites or other relevant information:

Sean Anstee – Conservative Party – click here

Mohammad Aslam – Independent – click here

Jane Brophy – Liberal Democrats – click here

Andy Burnham – Labour Party – click here

Marcus Farmer – Independent – click here

Stephen Morris – English Democrats – click here

Shneur Odze – UKIP – click here

Will Patterson – Green Party – click here

The Meteor questions the candidates

To help the electorate make up their minds on who to vote for in the GM mayoral election we previously asked the top 5 parties candidates the following questions on important issues facing us all in GM. Just click the question, or headline, to go to the relevant web-page:

The people of Greater Manchester are being hit hard by the housing crisis. What do you plan to do about it, particularly in the areas of social housing, private renting and homelessness?

What are your plans for the economy in regards to reducing inequality and unemployment in Greater Manchester?

Health and social care are currently in an intertwined crisis. How will you solve this in GM with the inadequate funding from government?

Since the Brexit vote to leave the European Union there has been a worrying rise of xenophobia and far right political views being expressed in the UK. How will you protect and promote multiculturalism within GM?

What actions will you take to protect the environment, particularly in regards to the green belt, air pollution and carbon dioxide production?

The Firefighters of GM were recently threatened with the sack so they could sign fresh contracts with poorer working conditions. This occurred during a period when deaths due to fire rose in GM while cuts were being made to the fire service. What are your plans for the GM Fire service while it is under your control as mayor?

Mayoral candidate Will Patterson proposes a green future for Greater Manchester (Patterson answers all the questions listed above)

Emotions run high at GM mayoral hustings on the housing crisis (coverage of hustings held in Salford)

It is possible that voter turnout will be low on GM mayoral election day, and those who do turn out may not have a clear idea of who they can vote for. A survey carried out by the Salford Star showed 39% saying ‘No’ or ‘Don’t know’ when asked, ‘will you be voting in the election’? The same survey also showed 69% of people asked couldn’t name a single candidate standing in the mayoral election. There are also concerns that the number of young voters may continue to drop. In the 1992 general election 63% of 18 to 24 year olds voted, in 2015 that figure had dropped to 43%.

This indifference to voting would come as a shock to the people of the region who gathered in 1892 to march at St Peter’s Field in Manchester, demanding the right to vote. Their cries for reform to parliamentary representation were met by a massed cavalry charge, which killed around 13 people and injured 420, which came to be known as the Peterloo Massacre. Our right to vote is a precious gift from generations past that fought long and hard to ensure suffrage to their descendants. Make use of that right in GM on the 4 May.

Conrad Bower

Feature image: GM election candidate information booklet

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  • Conrad Bower

    Reporting interests include social justice, the environment, and human rights. A staunch advocate for the scientific method and rational debate for understanding the world - he believes only greater public understanding and engagement with the problems affecting society, can produce the progressive change we need. Co-founder of The Meteor.


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