March 2, 2015 1 Comment
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|
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.