Election 2017 – Information for Voters

Election Thursday 4 May 2017

The election of Mayor for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) will take place on Thursday 4 May 2017. The Mayor will be directly elected by voters from the seven local authorities that make up the combined authority area.

Who can vote?

To vote on 4 May, you need to make sure you’re registered by 13 April 2017. In order to register you must:

  • Live in one of the seven authorities that make up the WMCA (Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton)
  • Be 18 or over on 4 May 2017
  • Be a British, Commonwealth or European Union citizen who does not require leave to remain in the UK (British citizens living overseas are not eligible to vote in this election)

How do I Vote?

At the polling station

All polling stations across the West Midlands are open on polling day from 7am until 10pm.

If you are registered and entitled to vote then you will receive a poll card before the election telling you where to vote. You do not need to take your poll card with you when you go to vote.

You can find your polling station by entering your postcode into the following websites:

For Birmingham residents click here and enter your postcode into the box marked ‘Find your local services and facilities’

For Coventry, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton residents you can use the Democracy Club tool by entering your postcode here

Dudley residents should contact the Electoral Services Office

When you arrive at the polling station, staff will ask you to confirm your name and address. They will then check that you are registered and hand you a ballot paper. They can also help you understand how to fill in your ballot paper.

If you would like to find out your polling station, you can contact your local Electoral Services Office.

Voting by Post

Anyone who is registered and eligible to vote can apply for a postal vote at this election. Many people choose to vote by post if they are away from home on polling day, or if they have difficulty in getting to their local polling station.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote at this election is 5pm on Tuesday 18 April. You can obtain an application form from your local Electoral Services Office or one can be downloaded here.

If you are set up with a postal vote then your ballot papers will be sent through the post to you, along with a postal voter’s statement (which requires your signature and date of birth), instructions on how to complete and return your postal vote, and a freepost envelope in which to return it.

Postal votes will be sent around the 18 April, but if you apply for a postal vote after 31 March, you should contact your local authority to check when your postal vote will be issued. Due to the specialist nature of postal vote production, it can take a couple of weeks from the receipt of an application form for the postal vote to be issued.

If you leave it too late to post your postal vote back to us, you can return it by hand either to your local Electoral Services Office or any polling station in your local authority area.

Voting by Proxy

Voting by proxy means appointing someone else to vote on your behalf. The deadline to appoint a proxy is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April. You can obtain an application form from your local Electoral Services Office or one can be downloaded here.

In order to vote on your behalf, your proxy must attend your polling station, even if this is in a different location from where they need to go to cast their own vote. If your appointed proxy is unable to attend your polling station then they can apply to vote by post. The deadline for them to apply for this is 5pm on Tuesday 18 April.

Information for carers and people with disabilities

There are a number of options to help those with disabilities cast their vote.

You can request a postal or appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf.

Help is also available at polling stations, including large print ballot papers, Braille tactile voting devices and assistance from the Presiding Officer (the person in charge at the polling station).

You can also ask someone to come to the polling station to assist and support you. They should be someone who is eligible to vote at this election, or a close relative (parent, sibling, husband, wife, civil partner or child – proving they are over 18). If you want them to support you in casting your vote, then the Presiding Officer will ask them to sign a form saying that they are helping you to vote. A person may only support two people in this way at the same election.

RNIB have also produced advice on voting and elections for people with visual impairments, whilst MENCAP have also produced Easy Read Guides about elections and voting which can be found here.

Counting the Votes

The votes for this election will be counted on Friday 5 May 2017, with the results expected by early evening.

Each local authority will be responsible for counting the votes for their area, with the results being collated regionally in Birmingham by the Combined Authority Returning Officer (CARO) and their staff.  Once results for all seven local authorities have been collected and calculated, the successful candidate will be declared.

Supplementary Voting

At this election the supplementary voting system is being used.

Voters have two choices for Mayor, and should mark on the ballot paper their first choice and can – if they wish, it’s not compulsory – mark on the ballot paper their second choice too.  

A sample paper looks like this:

If any candidate receives more than 50% of all the first choice votes, they are elected as Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority.

If this does not happen, the two candidates with the most first choice votes go through to a second round and all other candidates are eliminated.

The second choice votes for the eliminated candidates are then counted. If any of these second choice votes are for the top two candidates they are added to their first choice totals.

The candidate with the highest combined total of first and second choice votes will be elected as the Mayor.