The sad truth is that nearly 20 years after devolution the majority of people in Wales still don’t vote in Welsh elections, be that local or Assembly elections.
Democracy is more than just turning up to vote every few years. For democracy to flourish there needs to be a democratic culture.
Welsh Voices is a broad strand of work looking beyond our formal institutions, to the deeper world of political culture. What is putting people off from standing for election? Why do people not vote? How can we get the next generation involved in public life?
Our Voices Heard
Over the last few months of 2018, we spoke with nearly 200 young people about politics, political education and democracy. We believe these young people represent a wider call for change. The ‘our’ in Our Voices Heard is simple – it’s for the young people we’ve been speaking to. This is their opportunity to have a say, to impact on decisions that affect their lives.
We co-produced sessions with young people in 11 schools across Wales. That means we asked them for their ideas and recommendations on how to improve political education in Wales. Each class then voted for their top recommendations, which were taken to a panel of people working in education, politics, teachers and young people to be refined before being formally handed to the Welsh Government at an event Cardiff Bay.
ERS Cymru's Mat Mathias visits schools in Wales to help co-produce a new politics curriculum with the students.
How diverse our elected representatives are is an issue that goes to the very heart of our democracy. We need to be drawing people from the widest possible range of life experiences to put their input into our laws. If people don’t see themselves in modern politics then we cannot blame them for being disengaged and frustrated with the way it is representing them.
We’ve come a long way in the 100 years since some women first were able to vote. Our democracy has radically shifted from that limited extension of voting eligibility, but despite this progress, we haven’t come far enough.
In New Voices we look at what is stopping new faces from standing for election in Wales.
ERS Cymru's Jess Blair and Mat Mathias discover what puts people off from standing for election in Wales.
While turnout for General Elections is comparatively high in Wales, there is a huge gap in those that vote in local and UK wide elections.
While turnout isn’t the only indicator of how healthy a democracy is, it’s certainly a good place to start. Yet, this does only offer a small picture of how people really feel about politics.
In Missing Voices we set out to talk to people from across Wales about how they feel about politics and how it can be improved.
ERS Cymru's Mat Mathias goes on a road trip around Wales to discover why people don't vote
More information about Welsh Voices
Our Voices Heard: Young people’s ideas for political education in Wales
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We ask young people across Wales for their ideas on how to improve political education.
New Voices: How Welsh politics can begin to reflect Wales
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How diverse our elected representatives are is an issue that goes to the very heart of our democracy.