Police commissioner election: Why you will have two votes ...
North Lincolnshire voters going to the polls in Thursday's police and crime commissioner election are being urged to think carefully over marking their ballot papers.
The election is being run under the supplementary voting (SV) system.
Unlike council and parliamentary contests, electors will have two votes, rather than just one.
It is the first time the system is being used in a regional election, although it is used to elect the Mayor of London and other elected mayors in England and Wales.
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Under SV, people are asked to vote for their first-choice candidate by marking a cross in the first-choice column.
They then can vote again for a second-choice candidate by marking a cross in the second-choice column on the ballot paper.
When the votes from across the Humber region are counted at Bridlington Spa on Friday morning, a winner will be declared if someone receives more than 50 per cent of the first preference votes.
But if no one reaches the 50 per cent mark, all candidates apart from those in the first and second places are eliminated.
The ballot papers showing a first preference for eliminated candidates are then checked for their second preference votes.
Any second preference votes for the two remaining candidates are then added to the two candidates' first preference votes.
The candidate with the most votes after the addition of second preference votes wins.
It could mean the candidate with the most first preference votes in the first count finishing second after the second.
Colin Rallings, professor of politics at of Plymouth University, believes that scenario could be played out at Bridlington later this week if no one gets more than 50 per cent of the first preference votes.
He said: "The result may depend on which parties or candidates go through to the second round and how many second votes are eligible to be counted."
Prof Rallings said transferring second preference votes in the event of second ballot was not as straightforward as it seemed.
He said: "In practice, many second votes are cast in such a way that they are ineligible for transfer.
"Some voters support the same candidate twice, leave the second column blank or cast their second preference for a candidate who is already eliminated.
"Our analysis of the mayoral elections since 2001 shows that, on average, fewer than four in ten eligible second votes are transferred and affect the final outcome.
"To use SV most effectively, voters need to judge which two candidates are likely to emerge after the count of the first votes and then tailor their second preference.
"However, the more candidates there are on the ballot paper and the less clear-cut the balance of support among them, the harder it becomes to gather the information needed to forecast what the outcomes might be."