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Your Green Vote in The Bristol Local and Mayoral Elections, May 5th 2016

Sean Buchan, Bristol Green Party’s co-ordinator, explores the party’s recent surge in the city council and how to vote Green in this year’s local elections – the last until 2020. 

Bristol Green Surge

It’s been a big year for the Bristol Green Party. In May 2015 we more than doubled our representation in the Bristol City Council, from 6 councillors to 14, and came very close to winning a second seat in parliament in Bristol West. We are now the third biggest political party on Bristol City Council.

This year, we hope to do even better.

As our Mayoral candidate Tony Dyer stated earlier this week, when Green councillors are elected, people want to keep them. We’ve produced highlights of what the Green councillor group has achieved in just one year, and what your local councillors have been doing on our councillor achievements page.

Now, for the first time ever, every single council seat is up for election in Bristol. This means we could #TurnBristolGreen in just 24 hours at the ballot box. This is it! There will be no more local elections until 2020. 

In Bristol we can vote for policiesAt the Green Party we want to keep things simple. We always urge voters to vote for what they believe in, no matter what the voting system. So if you’re a Bristol voter and leaning green, it’s very clear: vote for your local Green council candidates, and give your first preference votes to Tony Dyer for Mayor of Bristol and Chris Briton for Police and Crime Commissioner of Avon and Somerset. 

How Your Vote Works on May 5th – The Bristol Supplementary Vote and Bristol Council Elections

There are three different ballots all on the same day this year. Here’s how they all work.  

Bristol Local Council Elections

  • Your local councillor or “ward” vote will be the GREY ballot paper. Depending on where you live, you will have one, two or three councillors representing your area and therefore one, two or three votes*. The one, two or three candidates that receive the most total votes in your ward area are your councillors until 2020. We’ve worked tirelessly this year to ensure that all Bristolians can vote Green in this election, so make it count and #TurnBristolGreen!

Action: Use all of your one, two or three votes for your local Green candidates

Bristol Mayoral Elections

  • Your Mayoral vote will be the YELLOW ballot paper. The Mayoral election uses the supplementary vote system. This means you get to express two preferences – your first choice candidate and your second choice candidate. If your first choice is not in the top two candidates after counting everyone’s first preference, then your second preference will counted instead, as if it as your first preference**. This means that it’s easier to vote for what you believe in with your first preference knowing that your second preference is there as a back up, if your favourite candidate doesn't make it to the top two. 

Action: Give your first preference to the Green candidate, and your other vote to your second preference. 

Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Election

  • Your Police and Crime Commissioner vote will be the WHITE ballot paper and works the same way as the Mayoral vote.  We are backing Green candidate Chris Briton first, and whoever else you choose second.  

Action: Give your first preference to the Green candidate, and your other vote to your second preference.

Extra Resources

Want to help?

Volunteer: email your ward team or email
Donate: Unlike other parties we’re not funded by big business backers and local operations are run almost entirely on volunteers. You can help fund our local party activity here
Join us: Sign up to be a member at Did you know that cost of membership is from just £10.50 annually for low waged / unemployed?

We’re also proud to be the most digitally active local party. Get involved with some social media activism by joining our Thunderclap


*All wards will have two councillors through to 2020 and therefore two votes, except the following seven wards: Hotwells & Harbourside (1), St. George West (1), St. George Troopers Hill (1), Ashley (3), Avonmouth & Lawrence Weston (3), Westbury on Trym & Henleaze (3), Hartcliffe & Withywood (3) and Hengrove & Whitchurch Park (3)

**This voting system is called the supplementary vote. The way it works, in detail, is that all first preferences are counted and if no candidate receives over 50% of the vote (which is almost impossible with 13 candidates) then the top two candidates go through to a “final round”. In the final round, all second preferences that are cast for the top two candidates are added to their first preference total. If you voted for both of these candidates as first and second preference, then only your first preference counts. If your second preference is for any other candidate that doesn't make the top two, this unfortunately means that your second preference is not counted either. While the supplementary vote is an improvement to the voting system used for electing our MPs and councillors ("first past the post") it still has major flaws. Like first-past-the-post, it encourages voters to vote tactically, rather than for what they truly believe in. Ultimately The Greens favour other more representative voting systems such as the alternative vote or the single transferrable vote.


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