Cynon Valley AM backs votes at 16

Vikki Howells AM is supporting plans to give more people a say in local democracy.

The plans reflect last year’s Welsh Government consultation on reforming the electoral system in Wales, which received almost 1000 responses from communities across wales.

Under the proposals to be announced this week, 16 and 17 year olds would be given the right to vote in council elections, along with all foreign nationals legally resident in Wales. Automatic registration would help ensure fewer people were missed from the electoral register.

The Welsh Government also wants Councils to pilot innovative new voting methods, which reflect people’s busy lives. These could include remote digital voting, mobile polling stations and voting at places like supermarkets, local libraries, leisure centres and railway stations.

To ensure that people have a clear choice, Councils would have to post policy statements from the candidates on line and all those standing would have to declare any party affiliation.

Vikki said:

“These changes are about engaging people in the political process, especially younger voters. I have visited many secondary schools in the Cynon Valley and found that large numbers of young people have a deep interest in politics and are very knowledgeable on the subject.

“We also know that voting is a habit and that amongst those who vote the habit sticks, unfortunately this is also the case for people who don’t vote.”

“I am also excited about exploring new ways of voting. Just because we have voted in a certain way in the past, doesn’t mean that is the only way.  People’s lives and lifestyles are varied and it should be as easy as possible for them to vote.  I will of course be asking questions to ensure that any voting method is completely secure.

“So too, it is right that residents have the full picture when they choose to vote.  Too often we see card carrying political party members stand as independents, without letting voters know of their affiliation.”