Election Thursday 7 May 2020

The election of Mayor for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) will take place on Thursday 7 May 2020.  The Mayor will be directly elected by voters from the seven local authorities that make up the combined authority area.  This election will also be combined with the Police & Crime Commissioner Elections and local elections in all areas, apart from Birmingham, where no local elections are being held.

Who can vote?

To vote on 7 May, you need to make sure you’re registered by 21 April 2020. In order to register:

  • You must be 18 or over on the day of the election (‘polling day’)
  • You must be a British, Commonwealth or EU citizen
  • You have to be resident at an address in one of the seven constituent members of the WMCA – Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton
  • You are not legally excluded from voting (you can check)

If you are not already on the electoral roll, you must register to vote.

If you happen to live in two local authority areas, as a student or otherwise, you can be registered in both areas but you can only vote in this election once, otherwise you might be guilty of a criminal offence. Find out more.

If you’ve moved address recently and have not already registered at you new address then you can register to vote. Please put your previous address in your application to ensure your details are removed from that address.

If you wish to confirm that you are registered to vote, you can contact your local electoral services office.

I have lost my poll card. Can you send me another one?

You do not need a poll card to vote, so another one will not be sent.  The poll card is just to inform you that there is an election and to provide you with other information such as where your polling station is situated.

How do I vote?

Once registered to vote, you should receive a polling card through the post at your home address. You are then able to cast your vote in person, by post, or by proxy on 7 May.

If you cannot make it in person to the polling station you can vote by post, or have someone do so in person on your behalf, by ‘proxy vote’. You will, however, need to apply to vote by either method in advance. Speak to your local authority to do so.

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.

When going to the polling station it helps to take your polling card with you. However if you forget your polling card you will still be able to vote. You do not need to take your poll card with you.

Staff at your polling station on polling day will ask you to confirm your name and address and will then hand you your ballot paper.

Voters with a physical or visual impairment who are unable to mark their own paper can be assisted by one of the presiding officers.

Find your polling station

For Birmingham residents 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 postcode checker

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 Wednesday 22 April. You can obtain an application form from your local Electoral Services Office or download a postal vote application form.

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 10 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 Wednesday 29 April. You can obtain an application form from your local Electoral Services Office or download a proxy voting application form.

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 Wednesday 22 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.

Counting the votes

The votes for this election will be counted on Friday 8 May 2020, 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:

Sample Ballot Paper

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.

How do I mark my vote?

Mark your vote in the usual way, with a single X in each of the columns indicated.

The ballot paper will list all the candidates standing. Next to the list of candidates there will be two columns.

You will be asked to:

  • Vote for your first choice candidate by marking a cross (✘) in Column A, and
  • Vote for your second choice candidate by marking a cross (✘) in Column B.
  • You should not mark more than one cross in Column A, and you should not mark more than one cross in Column B.
  • If you have marked a first choice, you can choose whether or not to mark a second choice.
  • If you only mark a cross in Column B, your vote will not be counted.

This video explains how the Supplementary Voting System works.

This voting process is also used for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

For Local Elections, please ensure that you read the information printed on your ballot papers before casting your vote.

Why two votes for one Mayor?

The law states the voting process for the Mayoral elections must be done this way. It also allows you to say who would be your second choice for Mayor if your first choice is not in the top two after the first round of counting, and if there is not an outright majority winner at that stage.

What happens if I don’t make a second choice?

Your first choice vote will still be counted.

I don’t really like any of the candidates.  What happens if I only mark an X in the second choice column?

Your vote will NOT be counted because it is not possible to identify who was your preferred candidate.

What if I mark an X in the first choice column for more than one candidate?

Your vote will not be counted as it is unclear who you wanted to vote for. If you wish to use both your votes, then you must mark an X in column A for your first choice candidate and also in column B for your second choice candidate.

With the Local Elections and PCC Elections being on the same day do I vote the same way for that as well?

For the PCC elections, YES, the voting process is the same as the Mayoral Elections, where you can vote for your first and second choice candidates.

For the Local Elections, vote for no more than the number of candidates stated on your ballot paper by marking an X next to the candidate(s) you wish to vote for.