County goes to the polls - but can Crawley conquer voter apathy?

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The county goes to the polls this week with more than 300 candidates contesting seats across West Sussex.

Candidates have been out and about, knocking on doors and handing out literature to try to persuade potential voters that their man or woman is the one who deserves to be elected on Thursday (May 2).

West Sussex County Council is currently made up of 48 Conservative councillors, 18 Liberal Democrats, three Labour, one Independent and one from UKIP.

In Crawley, the nine seats are held by seven Conservative and two Labour councillors.

This year, the two parties will face challenges from the Liberal Democrats and UKIP in all nine wards, with the Green Party fielding five candidates, the Socialist Labour Party and the Justice Party fielding one, plus one Independent.

But will the people of Crawley answer the call to cast their vote?

At the last full county election in 2009, Broadfield earned the dubious honour of achieving the lowest turn-out in the county, with 27.02 per cent.

Even the town’s highest turn-out - 39.72 per cent in the ever-reliable Tilgate & Furnace Green – fell far short of other county wards, with Bramber Castle breaking the 50 per cent mark.

One voting option which has caught on over the past few years is the opportunity to cast your vote by post.

Some 12,300 people in Crawley are registered to do so this year, a rise of almost 1,500 compared to the borough elections of 2012.

As always, opinion is divided when it comes to the importance of deciding who will represent you.

Commenting on the Observer Facebook page, Andy Clark said: “I always vote. It’s my democratic right. If people don’t vote then they should not moan about anything.”

His view was supported by Steve Leake, who added: “If you don’t vote you have no right to complain. You can spoil your voting slip if you feel no one fits your requirements.”

But Brin Griffiths asked: “What’s the point?” while Sue Morley branded councillors “useless”.