‘It stinks’: Tories accuse Welsh Government of ‘gaming the system’ by making it easier for young people to vote
The Welsh Conservatives have accused Labour of “an attempt to game elections in favour of the Labour Party” by rolling out plans to make it easier for young people to vote in next year’s council elections.
Mick Antoniw, Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, said he was planning to set up voting stations in schools, colleges and council offices that would allow people to vote in the run-up to polling day.
But the Conservatives pointed out that three of these four councils are Labour-run and all four are in the south of Wales.
Welsh Conservative and Shadow Constitution Minister, Darren Millar MS said that “these arrangements stink”.
“They are unnecessary and appear to be an attempt to game elections in favour of the Labour Party,” he said.
“People in Wales already have ample opportunity to vote with 15 hours to vote on polling day in addition to postal and proxy voting that already enables people to vote flexibly and in advance.
“It will appear to many that Labour Ministers only want to promote voter turnout amongst groups that they think are more likely to vote Labour.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson responded to say: “Every one of Wales’ 22 local authorities were invited to take forward pilots like these, with a commitment from Welsh Government to provide support.
“Four councils came forward and those are the proposals we are supporting. The lessons from these pilots could be applied across all of Wales, and could affect how people vote in all corners of our nation.”
Minister Mick Antoniw however said that all four pilots are designed to make it easier for people to vote at a time and a place that is convenient for them.
He said that while the UK Government were pushing to make voting harder by introducing ID cards, the Welsh Government wanted to make it easier.
“More people taking an active part in our democracy is good for our society,” he said. “These pilots will make it easier and more convenient for people to vote, bringing the ballot box closer to people’s day to day lives.
“At a time when UK government plans for voter ID risk making voting harder, our message is loud and clear that voting should be easier.
“Lowering the voting age to 16 was a progressive step that recognises the valuable contributions young people can make. We’re giving young people the chance to shape our democracy so I’m pleased pilot schemes will take place in a school and in a college.
“The outcomes of the pilots will be carefully considered and could eventually reshape how people cast their votes across all of Wales.”
The pilots will mean people in the Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly and Torfaen council areas will be able to vote before polling day on 5 May 2022.
Coleg Gwent’s Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone in Ebbw Vale will be used as an early polling station in the week leading to election day. All students there will be able to cast their votes as Wales lowered the voting age to 16 last year.
The polling station will also be available as an early voting centre for all residents of the county, no matter which electoral ward they live in.
In Bridgend, a new polling station will be created in a school so eligible pupils can cast their votes there ahead of Election Day. Existing polling stations in wards that have had lower turnout will also be open for early voting in the week ahead of the election.
In Caerphilly and Torfaen, council offices will be used as early voting centres on the weekend before election day. They will be open to all residents of the county, no matter which electoral ward they live in, providing a town centre location to vote.
The pilots in Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Torfaen will also mean people from anywhere in the county will be able to vote at a central polling station, not just one in their ward, offering flexibility over location as well as timing.
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The Tories are doing even worse with their boundary reviews. We need to treat the Conservatives the way Scotland has: GET RID OF THEM. Vote them away.
Nice idea! Unfortunately the Tories seem to be at an all time high of support in Wales 🙄
The Tories are precious little snowflakes aren’t they?! Hilarious. Making it easier to vote offends them? Bless. Maybe they ought to try and treat people with respect, perhaps then they wouldn’t be so loathed.
Progressive Alliance please and let’s rid of us these Tories for ever.
Labour have refused to join a progressive alliance for the North Shropshire by-election and insist on fielding their own candidate. Does anyone still seriously think that there is any chance of this happening? Unfortunately, Labour are too self-serving for this to happen any time soon.
While we in Cymru attempt to make it easier to vote, and encourage our youth to engage in politiics ,the Tory’s in Westminster are trying to bring in American style ID laws ,to make it more difficult to vote. The only “stink” I can smell, is the Tory “stink” of sleaze, drifting all the way down from London.
A bit rich coming from the gerrymandering party isn’t it?
Perhaps this is an admission on their part that they’ve screwed over the young so much that most young people won’t vote for them.
What a surprise, the tory scum have an issue with democracy and people having access to it.
Get the people in your town’s out voting for new wales 🏴 a Free Wales 🏴 and stop being little Englanders and and be proud to be welsh it’s time for independence
If the Conservatives started caring more about young people, making policies that benefit them, legislate to lower house prices and rents, end tuition fees and invest in creating high quality jobs for the young then that party would have nothing to fear from young people being engaged in democracy!
Unlike the Conservative and UNionist party who want to make it difficult for the poor and disposessed to vote at all.
Risible. Votes for 16+ were in the Plaid, Labour & Lib Dem manifesto’s for 2016. Those parties won the majority of seats between them and the policy was duly delivered by the Senedd by popular mandate. Entirely hypocritical of the Tories to be whinning about it when they have an 80 seat majority in the House of Commons off the back of a minority of the votes cast!
The stench here is of the Tories trying to plant a false narrative – incidentally, one I often find repeated in the comments on BBC and WoL articles.
“These arrangements stink, err, like a polluted, erm, river……………….
More Trumpian tactics by the Welsh Tories. No doubt postal voter fraud and how the Welsh Tories really won the last election will rear its ugly head. But wait a minute? Isn’t this the same Welsh Conservatives who along with their fascist bedfellows, The Brexit Party, didn’t want 16 & 17yr olds in Wales to vote in our Senedd elections at all. They voted agaist 70,000 Welsh teenagers expressing their wish have their voice heard including 33,000 foreign nationals who bring so much wealth into our economy. What bloody hypocrites! As mentioned in many posts. The Welsh Tories are Whitehall… Read more »
Is this the same Tory party, that last week defended the right of the army to recruit 16 year old’s in our country., but allow them to vote, never!!.
The hypocrisy of the Tory’s knows no limit.
Making voting easier should be the aim of all those charged with governance responsibilities.
Darren certainly has a valid point re the sites for the pilot schemes and an extra one might well be needed in Colwyn Bay or Abergele or Rhuthun for him to experience and review..
They do themselves no favours by becoming more like Quislings by the day. They should bear in mind his fate.
The more the Tories spout crap the more likely they will be decimating in the future. Our young on the whole hate the Tories, as a result their days are numbered.
I bloody hope so time for the young to get rid of this tory scum and give themselves a shot at a future
The Welsh Labour Government making it easier for people including young people in Wales to vote.
Young people are our future.
What a contrast to Tory England trying to make it harder for people to vote, through ID cards.