Has Livingstone already lost ?


If you believe the opinion polls, the contest for the next Mayor of London is already over, before any real votes have been counted - supposedly Boris Johnson is set to win by a reasonable margin.

Only the votes for the Conservative challenger Boris Johnson or for the Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone, on first or second preference, can actually influence the outcome - all other votes are "wasted" (especially any for Matt O'Connor, who has withdrawn as the English Democrats candidate, but whose name is still on the ballot paper).

There is no reason not to vote for the other candidates, to send some sort of primitive signal to the political classes, and especially to express disapproval or hatred of the current Labour government and the Prime Minister without a mandate, Gordon Brown, or simply to show that it is time for a change.

The complexity of the Greater London Assembly votes, with the large constituencies (each covering about 3 House of Commons constituencies), together with London wide Assembly Members chosen from publicly unaccountable Party Lists, makes it much harder to guess who will prevail.

This is especially so, since one of the opinion polling companies seems to be saying that up to 16% of the people they sampled, were not registered to vote on the current electoral register, even though they thought, or claimed that they were.

There is also the effect of the notoriously insecure and easily rigged Postal Proxy voting system, which has been abused illegally in the previous elections, and which the Labour Government has refused to tighten up..

Supposedly the Electronic Vote Counting system has been improved since the previous near shambles, where an unacceptably high number of ballot papers were "spoiled".

Partly as a result of the disasters with electronic ballot paper counting in the last year's Scottish Parliament elections, and in some the English pilot areas, at least the ballot papers for the two London Elections are now on three separate sheets of paper, which the scanning technology might be able to cope with properly.

However, there is still no provision for a proper, mandatory t manual count of a statistically valid sample of the ballot papers, to audit the results of the electronic ballot paper scanning.

See this article in The Register for details: How scanners and PCs will choose London's mayor

The counting in London will not even start until Friday morning, and the results might not be available until the afternoon evening.

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