Residents have rejected the idea of having a directly elected mayor in Guildford.
The referendum - which had a turnout of less than 25% of the city’s electorate - saw 20,639 vote against the proposal.
Only 4,948 people voted in favour of having a directly elected mayor.
The result means the council will continue to be run by a cabinet and leader, chosen by councillors.
Campaigners had handed a petition containing 5,200 signatures to the council calling for a referendum on having an elected mayor.