The Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcomed proposals from the Welsh Government to reform local government elections and urged every council to move to a Single Transferable Vote system once the proposals are implemented.
Other welcome aspects include the plans to extend the vote to 16 and 17 year olds, give foreign nationals living in Wales the right to vote, improve voter registration and give prisoners the right to vote.
The proposals will be included in the Welsh Government’s Local Government Reform Bill, due to be introduced later this year. The Welsh Liberal Democrats hope all parties can support these plans to make local government in Wales more democratic and accountable.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented:
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for STV in local elections. It is disappointing that using the Single Transferable Vote system will only be optional for councils, but it is a substantial step in the right direction.
Single Transferable Vote is a fairer voting system that would help end the one-party states that exist in many Welsh councils. Too many councils and councillors have been allowed to become complacent because the current system all but guarantees their victory. STV for local elections would make local elections more competitive, more democratic and fairer, increasing the quality of councils and councillors in the process.
Wales has the opportunity to be bold and create an electoral system for local elections that makes local government more accountable, improves political engagement and is fair to everyone in Wales. I urge all parties to seize this opportunity by extending the vote to 16 and 17 year olds and delivering STV for local elections.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Cllr Rhys Taylor said:
Giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote in local elections is a crucial first step in giving young people a say in the decisions that affect them and getting them engaged in the political process. Society grants 16 and 17 year olds various adult rights and obligations, it is only right it also grants them a voice. The Welsh Liberal Democrats would like 16 and 17 year olds to be given a vote in all elections, but this change is an excellent start.