Wales: Campaigners hail ‘historic step forward’ as Senedd introduces votes at 16/17 for next election

Posted on the 28th November 2019

  • Statement from ERS Cymru for immediate release, 28th November 2019
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Campaigners have hailed the passing of the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill [1] as a ‘historic moment for democracy in Wales’, with the bill delivering the biggest boost to the franchise in Wales in half a century.

The Bill, which was passed today by the National Assembly for Wales, will give 16 and 17-year-olds the vote in the 2021 Assembly elections, a significant change for young people in Wales. 16 and 17-year-olds are set to get the vote for local elections soon too  [2], in line with Scotland. 

The passing of the Senedd Bill will also extend the vote in the Assembly elections to all foreign nationals resident in Wales and change the name of the institution to Senedd Cymru/ Welsh Parliament. 

ERS Cymru Director Jess Blair said:

“This is a historic moment for democracy in Wales. Extending the vote to 16 and 17-year olds will give young people across Wales a voice in critical decisions about who runs this country, and make the decisions that affect their everyday lives.

“Tonight, the Senedd has made a substantial step forward in modernising our electoral rules – showing how Wales can do things differently 20 years after devolution.

“It is now imperative that over the next 18 months our institutions work together to deliver an effective campaign informing young people of their new right to vote and ensuring they are on the electoral roll. 

“Wales now joins Scotland in delivering the right to vote to 16 and 17-year-olds, but young people in England and Northern Ireland are still missing this right. It is now vital that the next UK Government gives the vote to young people for General Elections and local elections to ensure we have a truly national franchise”.

“Meanwhile in Wales we mustn’t get complacent about the next stages of Assembly reform. Increasing the size of the assembly is the next step in delivering a Senedd fit for the 21st century and parties much now take this forward in manifestos for the next election.”





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