The effects of IER

This table shows the seventeen wards in Southend-on-Sea and their electorates for the last four years. Included is the change over that period. Also shown is the change in the last year.

2012 2013 2014 2015 Change 2015 – 2012 % change % change 2015 – 2014
Belfairs 7461 7539 7544 7486 25 0.34% -0.77%
Blenheim Park 7954 7971 7987 7922 -32 -0.40% -0.81%
Chalkwell 7395 7336 7259 7164 -231 -3.12% -1.31%
Eastwood Park 7620 7697 7625 7555 -65 -0.85% -0.92%
Kursaal 7507 7431 7812 7633 126 1.68% -2.29%
Leigh 7446 7523 7471 7364 -82 -1.10% -1.43%
Milton 7830 7859 7386 7308 -522 -6.67% -1.06%
Prittlewell 7805 7777 7880 7712 -93 -1.19% -2.13%
Shoeburyness 8288 8538 8500 8545 257 3.10% 0.53%
Southchurch 7643 7754 7732 7627 -16 -0.21% -1.36%
St Laurence 7610 7687 7524 7490 -120 -1.58% -0.45%
St Luke’s 8190 8228 7977 7914 -276 -3.37% -0.79%
Thorpe 7520 7539 7512 7482 -38 -0.51% -0.40%
Victoria 7349 7557 7342 7231 -118 -1.61% -1.51%
West Leigh 7158 7232 7147 7083 -75 -1.05% -0.90%
West Shoebury 7534 7675 7471 7466 -68 -0.90% -0.07%
Westborough 7621 7589 7636 7515 -106 -1.39% -1.58%
129931 130932 129805 128497 -1434 -1.10% -1.01%

The last column shows the effect of IER (Individual Electoral Registration). Of course, not all the change is down to IER, but it must be the most significant factor.

The data could accurately reflect the adult (and near-adult) population in Southend-on-Sea. If it did it would fly in the face of other data which suggests a growing population for the town. According to these figures only three wards registered any growth: Belfairs, Kursaal and Shoeburyness.

If Southend’s population is growing, and yet the number of electors is reducing, then we are seeing an increasingly smaller proportion of the town’s citizenry taking an active part in local and national decision making. It also has a knock-on effect on the legal system – juries are selected using the electoral roll.

My ward has seen a substantial drop. Milton has the largest proportion of rented properties, and churn will have an impact on registration. However, this churn ought to be a fairly static feature.

What does this all mean? I can only guess, but I expect a combination of increasing larger rental population (and subsequently less settled) together with less engagement has created a growing number for whom democracy is something for other people. Add in the effect of IER, only affecting at the margins this year, and we are witnessing shrinking mandates for all politicians.

These numbers will affect ward boundaries. On these numbers Shoeburyness ward is almost 21% bigger than West Leigh. That is quite some gap.

I hope that candidates of all persuasions will encourage all they encounter who are not enfranchised to register.

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One Response to The effects of IER

  1. Being registered does not mean that you will be effectively enfranchised; for that to happen you need to live in a marginal seat. Even then your choice is effectively limited to the two leading candidates selected by their respective parties. So unless you do not object to one of those candidates and can bring yourself to vote for one of their parties then being registered makes little difference.

    I think in our “database” society many are waking up to the pointlessness of putting your name on the registration database.

    The danger is that people will not be persuaded to register for the referendum, where every vote will count.

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