Around 66,000 16 and 17-year-olds can register to vote in Senedd elections from today.
Next year’s elections will be the first in which 16 and 17-year-olds and legally resident foreign nationals are allowed to vote in Wales, in a major expansion of the franchise.
The change came into force today as part of the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020.
Anyone 16 or older can register to vote here.
The Electoral Reform Society welcomed the changed and urged Westminster to follow in Wales footsteps. 16/17-year-olds can already vote in Scotland for all non-Westminster elections.
“This is a victory for young people, following campaigning from ERS Cymru and a coalition of youth and civil society campaigners,” a spokesperson for the Electoral Reform Society said.
“Westminster now looks increasingly isolated for barring the UK’s nearly-1.5m 16 and 17-year-olds from picking their MP.
“16 and 17-year-olds can already vote in Scotland for all non-Westminster elections. A fairer franchise for the whole UK is now a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’.
“The move in Wales means 16 and 17-year-olds will now rightly have a say over critical issues that affect their future, such as health, education and the economy.
“As we’ve already seen in Scotland, this is a boost for our democracy as a whole – strengthening citizenship and boosting political engagement.
“Sadly, England now looks increasingly isolated on this, and it’s a constitutional injustice that 16/17-year-olds there will continue to be denied the vote. It’s time for the government to get behind this win-win policy.”