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Why your vote counts more in West Midlands Mayoral race than the general election

With a proportional voting system and a close battle a small number of voters can influence the West Midlands Mayoral race

When the nation goes to the polls on in seven weeks to choose the next Government many of us living in safe seats will have next to no say in the outcome of that election.

If you are a vote in Ladywood, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham Perry Barr, West Bromwich East or Meriden you can pretty much bet your house on who will be your MP on the morning of June 9. And the bookies won’t offer you much of a return if you do. General elections are won and lost on a handful of battleground seats where the parties focus the majority of their attention and campaign funding.

This means those in living in the more marginal seats like Edgbaston and Northfield have much more of a say in the outcome.

But the West Midlands Mayor election on May 4 is a different matter. The supplementary voting system means that no matter where you live your vote is as valid and as likely to make a difference to the outcome as everyone else's - a voter in Ladywood has as much influence as one in Edgbaston.

And with two votes, cast in preferential order, there is also less need for tactical voting. We fully expect the mayor to be either Labour’s Sion Simon or Tory Andy Street.

But a first preference vote for either UKIP, the Lib Dems, Green or Communist candidates is not wasted - as if they are knocked out you get a second go.

So there’s nothing to lose and no need to hold your nose and vote tactically - at least on the first choice.

Elsewhere in the UK where mayoral elections are taking place they are pretty much forgone conclusions - Labour is expected to stroll into power in Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region.

But according to our readers survey published today the battle is close in the West Midlands with Labour and Tories just a few percentage points apart.

That means that a relatively small number of votes could decide who sits in the mayor office and takes control of the £36 million a year budget for transport, jobs and housing.

As a voter there is more chance of influencing the outcome of the West Midlands Mayor election than deciding who gets the keys to Number 10 Downing Street.

So it’s a shame that only about one in five people are expected to vote on May 4, while between double and three times that number will vote in the following general election.

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