The Speaker
Thursday, 13 June 2024 – 08:06

Voting in schools and supermarkets proposed for Wales’ 2022 council elections

Plans are being explored for potential flexible voting pilots to take place in next year’s Welsh local government elections in venues such as schools and supermarkets.

The Welsh Government is considering the plans as part of efforts to make voting easier and boost electoral turnout. The turnout at Wales’ last set of council elections in 2017 was 42%.

A range of ideas are being considered, including having polling stations in secondary schools and colleges so that young people aged 16 and over can vote as they finish lessons. In addition, possibilities are being explored for allowing people to vote at any polling station in a local authority area or having polling stations open for multiple days.

Speaking about the plans, Mick Antoniw, Counsel General and Minister for Constitution said;

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to vote, which is why we’re looking at making voting possible in more places, including in shops and schools. Democracy should be a part of all our lives and if more of us take part, it will lead to better policy making by elected representatives and policies which truly represent the views and experiences of all of us.

“These voting pilots will help us to better understand how we can increase turnout. We believe making voting more flexible and easier will bring democracy closer to everyone.”

The Welsh Government has had “constructive” discussions with the Welsh Local Government Association about modernising elections and has written to the association to outline their ideas.

Local authorities are now considering whether they would like to progress any of the ideas ready for the 2022 local elections. If used, the plans could inform arrangements for future elections such as the next scheduled Senedd election in 2026.

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