This is a really important, but lesser understood aspect of the Mayoral Election. I'm outlining it here so this link can be shared in the last 24 hours of campaigning.
Council elections in Liverpool are simple. The party that gets the most votes in a given area (ward) wins the seat. In the seats we are heavily targeting to gain seats, we are doing so from a Labour (finished 1st) v Green (finished 2nd). In these seats, it makes sense for Liberal Democrat voters to back the Green candidate if they want to defeat Labour (although some may unfortunately be misled by false barcharts). A quick reminder of these wards:
- Mossley Hill
- Princes Park
In St Michaels, we are defending our seat against Labour, who were the second place party last time, so the position is reversed there.
The Mayoral Election is totally different. You can have your cake and eat it (to some extent). TUSC voters can back Roger Bannister with their first preference, but recognising that Roger may not finish in 1st or 2nd place, decide to cast a second preference for the best #notojoe candidate. Liberal Democrats can do the same. Parties will be looking to last year's results as a guideline, so here is a quick reminder (the Greens gained 3,228 more votes than the Lib Dems across the city):
Some people on Twitter have been worried about opposition candidates "splitting the vote" and allowing Joe Anderson to remain as Mayor. This will not be the case if you cast your vote for two candidates and use both preferences. Vote with your heart for the first one, for politics you believe in, then back an "insurance" "least worst option" candidate with your second preference. I'll be using both preferences and I would expect anyone who wants a more proportional and representative voting system in future to be doing the same.
I'll clearly be using my first preference for Tom Crone, the Green candidate for Mayor. It won't be enough for a candidate aiming to beat Joe Anderson to attract preferences from every opposition group. The deciding voters will be Labour supporters who can't back the current Mayor. I think they are highly unlikely to back the Liberal Democrats and here is why (quote taken from a retweet I did on Twitter today):
"Paul whilst I respect you and Tim; the #FibDems will NEVER get my vote again; my ex left the party; friends…"
I think there are a lot of people in Liverpool who feel that way. That's why I'm confident that it will be Tom Crone who will be in the run off against Joe Anderson in the second round. So although first preferences are better for our party, second preferences will also help. There is a huge Labour vote to overcome, but as in 2012, we'll find that Labour will perform better in local elections than they will in the Mayoral contest. This time I think the gap will be significant and there will be a second round of voting.