Voting in supermarkets and secondary schools proposed to boost voter turnout
People could be able to elect their local councillors as they finish lessons or as part of their weekly shop, as part of efforts to make voting easier.
The Welsh Government is exploring with local authorities whether flexible voting pilots can take place in next year’s local government elections.
Voting in different spaces is being considered to provide voters with easier access in familiar environments. Polling stations in secondary schools and colleges would allow young people easy access to democracy, following legislation giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote in Wales. Consideration is also being given to sites such as leisure centres or supermarkets.
More flexible voting could also be achieved through early voting. This could see polling stations open the day before or the weekend before an election, or across multiple days. It would supplement postal voting as a way to give people more options to vote in advance.
People may also be able to vote at any polling station in a local authority area, instead of having to vote at an appointed polling station. This is currently based on where a person lives, but may not always be the most convenient location.
Digital solutions around electoral registers would be required to facilitate some of these ideas and pilots would help develop a thorough understanding of how this would work best.
The Welsh Government outlined these ideas in a letter to the Welsh Local Government Association, with the intention to explore them further in next May’s elections. Local authorities are now considering whether they would like to progress any of these ideas for the 2022 local elections. If pursued, lessons learned would then inform arrangements for future elections, including the Senedd election in 2026 and the local government elections in 2027.
Mick Antoniw, Counsel General and Minister for Constitution, said:
We want to make it as easy as possible for people to vote, which is why we’re looking at making voting possible in more places, including in shops and schools. Democracy should be a part of all our lives and if more of us take part, it will lead to better policy making by elected representatives and policies which truly represent the views and experiences of all of us.
These voting pilots will help us to better understand how we can increase turnout. We believe making voting more flexible and easier will bring democracy closer to everyone.
Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, added:
We have had constructive discussions with the Welsh Local Government Association about the need to modernise the way elections work. We’re now encouraging local authorities to step forward and play a part in shaping the future of elections in Wales. Piloting new approaches at the elections in May 2022 would be the first step in a longer term process that could see radical changes to how people exercise their democratic right to vote across the whole of Wales in future.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, WLGA Leader said:
A healthy democracy relies on good engagement and accessible elections which fit the modern needs of people in local communities. Constructive discussions have already begun with Welsh Government to look at new ways to bring democracy closer to the people, and we will look forward to exploring the practicalities of rolling out these ideas in communities across Wales.
Latest News from
Improvements in eating disorder care across Wales26/02/2024 14:05:00
The vast majority of people who need treatment for an eating disorder are seen in Wales and treated in their local communities.
Welsh Government helping to make children veg chomp-ions23/02/2024 14:05:00
Eat Them to Defeat them returns for its sixth year, to make veg fun, improve diets and increase children’s intake of vegetables by chomping away.
First Minister announces St David Awards 2024 finalists23/02/2024 10:15:00
First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced the finalists of this year’s St David Awards at an event at the Senedd.
Health Minister response to latest NHS Wales performance data – December 2023 and January 202422/02/2024 15:15:00
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan, has issued a statement on the latest NHS Wales performance data published today.
Keeping Farmers Farming. Make sure we know your views - we are listening22/02/2024 14:20:00
As the consultation on the Sustainable Farming Scheme enters its final two weeks the Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths is urging people to take part in the consultation and make sure their views are heard.
More than £14m to improve emergency department at the Grange hospital22/02/2024 13:20:00
More than £14 million is being invested by the Welsh Government to extend and reconfigure parts of the Grange University Hospital emergency department, Health Minister Eluned Morgan has officially announced.
‘We must improve education around menstrual cycles in schools’ vows Deputy Minister for Social Partnership22/02/2024 11:05:00
‘More must be done to improving education around menstrual cycles if we are going to tackle period dignity in schools,’ Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn has vowed.
Extra funding to upgrade NHS Wales digital services and equipment21/02/2024 15:15:00
The NHS will benefit from £10 million in additional capital funding to upgrade scanning equipment and digital infrastructure.
Welsh language better prepared for artificial intelligence developments, thanks to Welsh Government investment21/02/2024 09:05:00
The Welsh Government has supported ground-breaking work to secure a more prominent place for the Welsh language in the technology we use every day.