AN MP has called for clarification of the supplementary voting system used to elect police and crime commissioners after confusion at the polling booths in Gwent.
David Davies said he had received complaints from electors across Monmouthshire who found the voting slip “misleading”.
Supplementary voting, where there are two columns by each name on the ballot paper, is rarely used at nationwide elections. Voters are asked to mark their first preference in the first column and second preference in the second column.
If no candidate gets 50 per cent of the vote, all but the two leading candidates are eliminated. The second choices on the votes for the eliminated candidates are then counted and any in favour of the two remaining candidates are added to their totals.
A “general misunderstanding” about the use of the second preference vote led to “widespread confusion”, Mr Davies said, with many people wrongly assuming it was mandatory.
“The information on this was woefully unclear,” added the Monmouth MP.
“I have had a number of complaints and I wasn’t even sure myself.
“From what I’ve been told, it seems that some of the staff at the polling stations may also have been uncertain about the voting process.
“Many people thought that not using their second choice would invalidate the ballot paper, while others were asking if they could vote twice for the same candidate.
“There needs to be proper guidance issued next time and I will be writing to the Electoral Commission to make these concerns known.”