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Tower Hamlets Mayoral election – Secondary Choice voting explained by Thin Tail the squirrel

Our political staff have covered the issue of how you get a second choice when voting for Mayor of Tower Hamlets previously but it seems many are still unaware of the second choice system or how it works.

You can of course always read the information on the Tower Hamlets website.

Thin Tail explains

But we decided to get a squirrel to explain it to you as well. Over to you Thin Tail.

Thin Tail
Thin Tail

“Voting is about nuts. As is everything.

But with voting you are not just influencing the outcome of today’s nut rations but nut supplies and the quality of those nuts for many years to come.

This is why as squirrels we are always keen on voting. And nuts.

Nut voting is quite complicated though as all the nut votes get eaten before they are counted.

So let’s just stick to non-nut voting.

As you are not as clever as squirrels I will try and explain Secondary Choice voting with nuts with this image. Have a look at it then read on. I will have a nut while you do so there is no rush.”

Sample Tower Hamlets Mayoral election ballot paper
Sample Tower Hamlets Mayoral election ballot paper


“Seen it? Good. Now while this is a ballot paper and so not as interesting as, well, nuts, it is still quite interesting and useful. You have a list of choices for who you want to be nuts Mayor of Tower Hamlets. So obviously you put a nice neat cross next to that person’s name in the ‘first choice’ column.

Then – and here comes the science bit – you can also put a nice neat cross in the ‘second choice’ box.

So if there is no clear winner in the initial count of votes for Mayor the top two candidates go through to the second round when – you guessed it – the second choice votes are counted.

You don’t have to make a secondary choice but as you have taken all that trouble to get to the Polling Station why not?

Never ignore a second nut


An analogy might be nuts. I always eat my first choice nut. Always. But I do not ignore my second choice nut. Usually I eat it, sometimes I squirrel it away somewhere. But I never ignore it.

If you don’t understand the nut analogy try and look at it in people terms.

Say that for some odd reason you believe that only British nuts should be given to squirrels you might want to vote for the Ukip candidate for Mayor Mr McQueen. So you make him your first choice.

But you also know that there is no way in the world that Ukip is going to win the Mayoral race. Sorry but it ain’t gonna happen.

So you could then vote for, say, John Biggs* as your second choice.

So your conscience is clear and you have been pragmatic as well.

Or you might want to vote for that nice fresh faced Christopher Wilford who is the Conservative candidate. You have never, ever voted for anyone but the Tories. So you could vote for Mr Wilford** first and then someone else who gives us nuts (like Mr Biggs) second.

That’s it! So now you know what to do.

And just remember people make sure you vote on Thursday – you would be nuts not too!”


"Secondary voting is not as complicated as nuts," says Thin Tail.
“Secondary voting is not as complicated as nuts,” says Thin Tail.


* Squirrels like Mr Biggs as when he was a Wapping councillor he often gave us nuts. And he didn’t even insist we vote for him!

** Squirrels like Mr Wilford too although he takes a free market approach to the distribution of nuts in the Ward.

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