World Politics

Plans for 16-year-olds to get the vote in Wales under new electoral changes

Sixteen and seventeen-year-olds could soon have the right to vote at local council elections in Wales.

The new laws, which include giving young people the right to vote, are seen as the biggest change to the Welsh electoral system in 50 years. The proposal would also give all foreign citizens living in Wales the opportunity to vote in and stand in local elections.

The hope is that the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill will invigorate local democracy by widening the range of people who can vote and stand for office.

Students at Merthyr College

Students at Merthyr Tydfil College said they thought it was important for them to receive the vote.

Christian Maciejczyk, 17, said “I think it’s very important especially as the decision made by the local and general elections impact the young people for a longer time, they have a bigger effect on their lives”

Caitlin Foley, 17, who’s also a student at the college said the law would help young people get heard: “I think it’s a really good idea because it’ll give young people a voice.”

Local Government minister Julie James said the proposed law would ensure the public “feel well-represented and supported.”

We believe in strong local government. We want it to thrive, we want the people of Wales to feel well-represented and supported by modern public services, and we want the relationship between local government and the Welsh Government to be mature and focused on our shared agenda – delivering better public services for everyone, helping people who need support, when and where they need it most.

It aims to provide local government with new ways to support and serve their communities in these challenging times, while reinvigorating local democracy here in Wales.”


Wales would be following in Scotland’s footsteps as 16 and 17-year-olds already have the right to vote in local and Scottish elections.

The proposal are likely to come into force by Summer 2020 although it would need to be passed by AMs before becoming law.

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