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16-year-olds in Wales could get the vote in local elections

Electronic voting could also be introduced in a modernisation drive.

Sixteen and 17-year-olds in Wales are set to get the vote and they will be able to make their choice electronically under a proposed shake-up of local elections.

Swimming pools, supermarkets and railway stations could become alternative polling stations under the plans to modernise voting.

Foreign citizens who normally live in Wales could be given the right to vote in council polls and plans to bring in proportional representation are also being considered.

Railway stations could be used as polling stations (Peter Byrne/PA)

Welsh local government secretary Mark Drakeford said: “There’s no reason why 16 and 17-year-olds can marry, pay taxes and join the army but can’t vote in our elections.

“There’s no reason why, in the 21st century, we can carry out all sorts of daily transactions online but can’t, as of yet, vote online.

“That’s why we’re setting out a number of different ideas to modernise the electoral system and putting out a call for the public to share their ideas with us too.

“More broadly, if we’re to achieve real and lasting change in our councils then we have to change the way they work.”

16-year-olds can already joined the Armed Forces (Peter Byrne/PA)

The proposals are going out to consultation for 12 weeks

As well as increasing the types of venues people are able to vote at, the reforms also include remote electronic voting, and polling could be held on any day of the week, not just Thursday.

It is possible to marry but not to vote for 16-year-olds (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Jess Blair, director of the Electoral Reform Society Cymru, said: “The time is right to have this conversation on how we do things differently when it comes to voting and engaging people around politics.

“This consultation on electoral reform is a welcome step forward and covers a huge amount of things that we believe could genuinely improve the way politics works in Wales.

“The inclusion of votes at 16 in this debate is about what kind of democracy we want to be, one which engages our young people in their futures, and secures a fair franchise.

“And we know it works. Sixteen and 17-year-olds threw themselves wholeheartedly into the Scottish referendum, with 75% voting and 97% saying they would vote in future elections.”


From Belfast Telegraph