Voting should be compulsory, says Bognor’s town mayor

Adults should be made to vote, the town mayor of Bognor Regis has said.

Cllr Jim Brooks said he wanted everyone to take part in choosing council and parliamentary candidates in elections.

“I think voting is a duty and it should be compulsory,” he said at Arun District Council full meeting on Wednesday, November 9.

He made his comments during a discussion about a review of the electoral wards within the council.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has begun a study to see which of the boundaries of the wards which the 56 council’s members represent need to be changed.

Walberton and Barnham have 15 per cent and 14 per cent more electors for each councillor than the national average. Marine on Bognor seafront has 15 per cent fewer electors.

These are the highest variations in the Arun district. This would seem to make them prime candidates for any changes to put their size within the accepted ten per cent variation of the national average.

But Cllr Brooks said the relative lack of numbers was compensated for by the fact wards such as his were in the town centre, with their concentrations of crime, and also had pockets of deprivation.

“Hopefully, that will be taken into consideration. I would not like to see us with less councillors,” he said.

His views were echoed by Cllr Trevor Bence of the neighbouring Pevensey ward. “The workload involved is high. All the nightlife is in one ward and there are a lot of representations to the police,” he said.

Commission review officer Richard Buck said it was likely the workload evened itself out between large rural areas and smaller town centre ones.

But he advised the councillors to give their concerns to Arun’s internal electoral review whose findings would be considered by the commission.

Any changes – such as less councillors – will take effect from the May 2015 elections.