The biggest challenge that many candidates face is not how many votes they can get, but whether they can get people to register to vote in the first place. Our voting system is so complex that it can be very confusing to voters.
This is a simple step-by-step check of who, when, how often and how to register to vote in the upcoming London Mayoral and Assembly Elections.
Who Can Vote?
Needless to say British Citizens, but do you know that you can vote in local elections if you are a Commonwealth citizen, an EU citizen or an Irish citizen? There are 53 commonwealth countries and 27 other EU member states so do check if you are from one of them. Unfortunately foreign people holding permanent residency in the UK cannot vote.
When to Register and Vote?
April 18th is the deadline for registration for London Mayoral and Assembly Election. If you are away and planning to vote by post, the deadline for postal vote is April 19th. So get yourself registered soon!
Voting for the London Mayoral and Assembly Elections is on Thur, May 5th, 2016. Your council will send you a poll card to tell you where your polling station is. For people who are sharing flats, watch out for your post!
How Often Do You Need to Register?
It can be every year for a Londoner who is constantly moving. Whenever you change your address, you will need to register AGAIN!
Your Council should ask you to confirm your address every year for electoral purposes. Sometimes the Council can be lost in paperwork so it never hurts to register again.
How to Register?
You need to go to your local Council to register. The easiest way is to register online, but you can also register by post if you have received a registration form from the Council.
You can find information about your local Council here:
I've Done the Registration, What Now?
Congratulations that you just navigated your way out of this complex system. Now you can ponder on what you are voting for.
1. Mayor of London
This is the big boss in the London Assembly, the next Boris. You have ranked choices of the first candidate and a second candidate. If in doubt, cross 'Caroline Pidgeon's London Liberal Democrat' as your first choice.
2. London Assembly Member for your Constituency
This is a member of London Assembly representing where you live.
Check here for the candidate list of your constituency:
3. London-wide Assembly Member
This is essentially a vote by party, and is also what our Chinese Lib Dem member, Merlene Emerson, is standing for. Parties are allocated a number of seats in the London Assembly by the number of votes they accrued. There are 11 seats in total. This is where the world is much simpler, as you can just simply choose 'Caroline Pidgeon's London Liberal Democrats' (i.e. Liberal Democrats).
What Does London Assembly Do?
London Assembly is very different from Parliament. It is to do with housing, transport, infrastructure, cultural development, policing and environment in Greater London. It works closely with local councils to deliver key objectives. The election is important for Londoners as it affects the way we live and our unique London culture. Its effect is nationwide as London is our window display to the world beyond.
A healthy and welcoming London is crucial to the UK, and your vote will be the key to this.