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Sixteen and 17-year-olds allowed to vote in council elections in Wales

The Welsh Government has announced plans to extend the franchise for local elections.

Sixteen and 17-year-olds in Wales will be given the right to vote in council elections under plans announced by the Welsh Labour Government.

Cabinet Secretary for local government Alun Davies said the proposals were designed to boost participation as he was concerned that young people were being “disengaged” from the political process.

Labour’s national party seized on the plans to urge the Tories to give 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in UK general elections, arguing that the current rules which only allow those aged and 18 and over to participate were “inconsistent and unsustainable”.

  • Those aged 18 and over who have registered to vote.
  • British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizens.
  • UK resident.
  • Living abroad but registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years.

Shadow voter engagement minister Cat Smith said: “The Welsh Labour Government is leading the way by giving 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in local elections in Wales.

“However, we are now in an inconsistent and unsustainable position where a 16-year-old living in Wales and Scotland can vote in local elections, yet they are denied the right to vote in UK general elections.

“The Conservative Party is quickly finding themselves on the wrong side of history, while Labour is yet again showing that they are the party of the many.

“The time has now come for the UK Government to extend the franchise to all 16 and 17-year-olds, and ensure equal voting rights across the United Kingdom.”

Mr Davies said: “I am concerned we are still seeing far too many people, particularly young people, disengaged from the political process.

“There are many reasons for this but we must do more to make the process more attractive, welcoming and transparent.”

The proposals will be formally announced on Tuesday.

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