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And they're off!

20th March 2012

Today (Tuesday) marks the official start of the election period for the Mayor of London and 25 London Assembly Members. And with just over 40 days to go until polling day, on 3rd May, London Elects – the body that runs the elections – is calling on voters across the capital to visit their website and get ready to vote.

From today candidates can submit nomination papers, campaign spending is controlled and the London Elects team launch their “Ballot Box Roadshow” touring every London borough to help people get involved in the election. 

London Elects have published a heat map of London showing turnout figures for all 627 wards in London at the last election in 2008. The map shows that low turnout was an issue for all areas of London. London Elects said this shows that everyone from Hillingdon to Havering and Barnet to Bromley should find out what the election is about and how to vote, to make sure they have their say on who runs London for the next four years. 

Although the 2008 election saw a record-high turnout of 45.3% for these elections, turnout varied massively: from just 26.3% in Cranford ward (Hounslow) to 72.1% in Palace Riverside ward (Hammersmith & Fulham).

John Bennett, Greater London Returning Officer,said: 

“There are lots of things that affect turnout, from the age of voters, the levels of deprivation in an area or even the weather on the day. But our research shows that the picture isn’t always what you’d expect.”

“Some of the most affluent wards in London only managed a turnout of 35%, while some of the poorest wards were beating the London average. And it’s a myth that low turnout is just an inner East London problem too. The lowest turnout was actually a ward in outer West London.”

“Our message is, wherever you live in London, it’s your vote and if you want to make sure your voice is heard, you need to get out and vote on 3rd May. Go to www.londonelects.org.uk now, find out how the Mayor and Assembly affect your everyday life, how to fill out your three ballot papers and the different ways you can vote.”

The ‘Ballot Box Roadshow’, will see the London Elects team visit every London borough with a giant inflatable ballot box to distribute information about the election, raise awareness and encourage Londoners to have their say. 

John Bennett added: “We want Londoners to look out for the giant ballot box in their boroughs and next to their local landmarks and pass on the word to friends and colleagues – have your say, vote 3rd May”.

The London Elects website – www.londonelects.org.uk – is full of information on what the Mayor and Assembly do and how to fill in your three ballot papers.

The Mayor and the London Assembly are responsible for issues that affect everyone – from transport and policing, to housing, the environment –with a budget of more than £14bn per year.

On 3rd May, around 5.8 million registered Londoners will be able to vote for the Mayor of London and the 25 London Assembly members. Anyone that lives in London, is registered to vote, is a British, Commonwealth or EU citizen and will be 18 years old on 3rd May can vote.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

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  1.  In London as a whole, turnout for the 2008 Mayor of London election was 45.33%, for the Assembly constituency elections was 45.28% and for the Assembly list election was 45.28%.
  2. ‘St Dunstan’s & Stepney Green’ and ‘Weavers’ (Tower Hamlets) are the 8th and 13th most deprived wards in London, but managed turnout of 45.9% and 46.2% respectively. Queen’s Gate and Courtfield (Kensington & Chelsea) are two of the most affluent wards in London, but managed turnout of only 35.2% and 35.9% percent.
  3. The election itself will see nearly 4,000 polling stations set up across London on 3rd May; roughly one for every 1,500 voters. The stations will be manned by 11,400 staff between 7am and 10pm. Another 3,500 staff  will then be on hand to help with the count.
  4. London Elects is the independent body responsible – under the direction of the Greater London Returning Officer (GLRO) – for delivering and encouraging participation in the Mayor of London and London Assembly elections.
  5. London Elects is part of the Greater London Authority, but is operationally independent. It has a separate budget and reports directly to the GLRO.
  6. London Elects has appointed London Communications Agency (PR), to work with its small in-house team to deliver a comprehensive awareness and voter education campaign.
  7. More information on turnout, including on a constituency and borough level, can be found here: www.londonelects.org.uk/im-voter/results-and-past-elections/results-2008

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