Votes at 16 proposed in Welsh Assembly

Proposals to lower the voting age to 16 have been published for Wales’ National Assembly.

The Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill comes after the plans were backed by assembly members in a vote in October last year.

The National Assembly for Wales Commission said allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in Assembly elections from 2021 would engage young people in the democratic process.

The Welsh Government is said to already be working with the commission on introducing political education for young people before any reduction in the voting age.

The new bill also includes proposals to change the Assembly’s name to Senedd, Welsh for parliament, but also allows it to be referred to as the “Welsh Parliament”.

Carl Sargeant death
Carl Sargeant death

The Assembly’s presiding officer, Elin Jones, said on Tuesday: “The provision to lower the voting age to 16 will, I hope, engage young people in particular in the democratic process.

“The proposal to change the Assembly’s name to Senedd will better reflect the institution’s status as a parliament.

“After 20 years, this is a golden opportunity to renew our democracy and ensure that Wales’s national parliament enables us to do our best for our constituents today and for future generations.”

Mrs Jones is due to make a statement on the bill at the Assembly’s Plenary on Wednesday, before the proposed legislation is scrutinised by assembly members over the coming months.

The bill requires votes from at least 40 of the Assembly’s 60 Members to become law.