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Reverse electoral reform: Why the government wants to scrap the “supplementary vote”

Crunching the numbers reveals the self-interest lurking in the Conservative plan for change of the contests for city mayoralties and police commissioner posts

By Stephen Fisher  

David Warren / Alamy Stock Photo

When Boris Johnson was re-elected as London mayor in 2012 he came top of the pile, by taking 44 per cent of “first-choice” votes: a lead of 3.7 points over Ken Livingstone. If it had been a first-past-the-post election, like that we use to elect MPs, he’d have been home and dry with that.

But since London’s mayoralty was created in 2000, the job has been filled using the “supplementary vote,” where electors also cast a “second choice” which comes into play when no candidate gets more than half of the first preferences. Specifically, second preferences cast for…

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