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Plans To Give Welsh 16 Year Old's A Vote

If passed teenagers would be able to cast their ballot in local council elections in 2022.

Sixteen and seventeen year old's in Wales could be given the right to vote in local council elections under plans announced by the Welsh Government.

The move follows concerns young people are becoming  "disengaged" from the political process.

The voting age has already been lowered in Scotland.

The plan is due to be formally announced on Tuesday.

If it gets the go-ahead, it could be in place in time for the local council elections in 2022.

There is also a call for local authorities to pilot new ways of voting.

These could include remote digital voting, mobile polling stations and voting at places like supermarkets, local libraries, leisure centres and railway stations.

Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services, Alun Davies, said: "Local democracy is all about participation. We want to boost the numbers registered as electors, make it easier for people to cast their votes, and give more people the right to take part."

"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 we're announcing this week will, we hope, help increase participation and improve the democratic process for everyone in Wales.

"I would like to see authorities in Wales take the lead and pilot a number of innovative voting methods, something put on hold at the UK level since the mid-2000s. 

"I want to see whether, for example electronic voting or counting, voting on more than one day and in places other than traditional polling stations, could boost participation rates and improve the overall experience for Welsh voters."

Jessica Blair, Director of the Electoral Reform Society Cymru said, "We are delighted to see the Welsh Government bringing forward these innovative ideas to modernise our democracy. 

"It is an opportunity for Wales to lead the way in creating a political system that works for everybody and it is particularly pertinent as we recognise the centenary of the first women getting the vote. 

"Last year our Missing Voices project, in which we talked about politics and voting with nearly 1,000 people across Wales, revealed an appetite for doing things differently. We believe these recommendations are the first step in making that happen."

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