Belfast Telegraph

How many votes is Jonathan Rea likely to need to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year and how do I cast mine?

Jonathan Rea has officially been nominated on the 12-strong shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year - but what happens now?

The public will decide the eventual winner of the 2017 award. Here's all you need to know about the process:

So what happens now and can I help Jonathan Rea win?

The 12 shortlisted candidates go forward to the public vote during tonight's awards, to be held in Liverpool's Echo Arena.

So yes, you can help by casting your vote TONIGHT from 6.45pm to 9pm. Voting will take place either by phone or online. Online votes will be limited to one per account on the BBC website. Phone numbers will be available during the show or to vote online, go to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year website and click the vote now page that will appear once votings opens.

How many votes is Jonathan Rea likely to need if he's going to win?

In short, it's hard to say. The number of votes needed to win the award has varied greatly over the last few years. But we can at least look back at those figures and on three of the last four awards nights, the winner was the only nominee to surpass 125,000 votes. Let's take a look:

2016 Winner: Andy Murray

The tennis star received 247,419 votes with runner-up Alistair Brownlee well behind on 121,665 votes. Jessica Ennis-Hill was third with 79,898 votes.

2015 Winner: Andy Murray

The year before, Murray's 2016 total wouldn't have been enough to take top spot. Runner-up that year was Rugby League star Kevin Sinfield, who picked up 278,353 votes. Fortunately for Murray, he got 361,446 votes - the highest total in recent years.

2014 Winner: Lewis Hamilton

The Formula One star picked up 209,920 votes three years ago, beating our own Rory McIlroy into second place. Rory picked up 123,745 votes.

2013 Winner: Andy Murray

Murray really cleaned up with 56% of the vote, 401,470 to be precise. In second place was Leigh Halfpenny but the rugby star was way back on only 65,913 votes.

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