The Welsh Liberal Democrats welcome the introduction of votes at 16 and 17 for Senedd elections following the granting of Royal Assent for the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act this afternoon.
The act means that both Wales and Scotland now have a voting age for 16 for elections to their devolved Parliaments.
The act will add 70,000 people to the franchise in Wales. This is the largest increase in the voting franchise in Wales since the voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 in 1969.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented:
Today is a momentous day in Welsh democracy. This important step will ensure the voices of our young people are properly heard in our Senedd and strengthen the bonds of our democracy.
For too long the voices of young people in Wales have been ignored and marginalised, but no more - now they will be able to greater shape their futures and the future of our country. With Wales joining Scotland in lowering the voting age to 16, it’s clear that votes at 16 is now the norm.
It’s time the UK Government joined us by giving 16 and 17-year-olds the vote at all elections. After all, it is their generation who will have to live with the consequences of what we politicians decide today for the longest.