Political

Welcome progress on electoral reform in Wales

Polling station sign

As the Electoral Reform Society reports:

The Welsh Parliament will be voting this Wednesday (18th November) on whether to pass the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill, a significant piece of legislation which aims to transform local democracy in Wales.

The Bill seeks to address systemic issues with the voting system by giving councils the opportunity to move to STV using an opt-in system similar to that used in New Zealand. This is the first piece of legislation bringing STV to Wales and represents a significant step forward, which we hope councils will seek to adopt. Moving to an STV system would deliver more proportional results and mean that everyone’s vote counts. It would reduce uncontested seats, encourage diversity among candidates and encourage voter engagement and see more people having their voices heard at a local level.

There would also be changes to who can vote in local elections in Wales, with the franchise being extended to 16 and 17 year olds and all foreign citizens living legally in Wales. It would bring the local elections in line with the Welsh Parliament elections.

Commenting ahead of the debate, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

Liberal Democrats have long called for a truly democratic voting system which delivers maximum and equal power to the voter and gives the people of Wales representative council chambers that reflects the way they vote.

STV is a such a simple system, it is used in countless parliaments around the world as well as by sports clubs and societies to elect chairs and captains due to its simplicity and fairness.

I strongly believe that the time has come for STV and this will make elections simpler and fairer.

Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesperson for political and constitutional reform and Ceredigion candidate Cadan ap Tomos added:

Extending the voting franchise to include 16 and 17 year olds is not only logical but fair. From next year 16 and 17 year olds, in addition to paying taxes, will be able to vote in Senedd elections. It’s only right that this is extended to cover council elections too.

Welsh Liberal Democrats have long supported these proposals. It’s now time for our Senedd to back them, to strengthen our democracy.

Meanwhile, there is also good news from the United States:

UPDATE:

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