While most residents will have had leaflets through already and many will have had a doorstep call, yesterday marked the official beginning of this year’s Crawley Borough Council elections.
Crawley gets more than its fair share of elections. In three of every four years a third of Crawley Borough Council is up for election, with West Sussex County Council elections in the fourth year. That’s before you consider General Elections, Police Commissioner elections, referenda and, previously, European Parliament elections.
While some feel we’d be better off only having a borough council election every four years, I believe traditional voting ‘by thirds’ helps ensure the council is more democratic and accountable than other public bodies, meaning if people feel they were mislead before a vote at one election they get a chance to change their minds only 12 months later.
This year will be different to most, as the independent Local Government Boundary Commission has created new boundaries for council seats, reflecting population changes since the last review in 2004. For many the alterations will be minimal, but in some cases big changes have been made to deliver parity of population per councillor.
These changes mean every council seat will be up for election on the new boundaries on Thursday 2nd May and residents will get as many votes as there are councillors for their ward, two for a two member ward, three for a three member ward, with candidates with the most votes becoming the new councillors.
At the same time, there will be a by-election for the ‘Northgate and West Green’ county council seat, covering Northgate, West Green and a bit of Southgate, meaning those residents will have four votes.
Over the coming days and weeks, members of local parties will be asking every resident for their support to improve the town, but for you to have any say in the process you need register to vote by 12th April, and apply for a postal vote by 15th April, if you’re likely to be busy or away. Crawley belongs to every resident and everyone deserves the chance to have their say.