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Landmark bill to introduce automatic voter registration in Wales passed

09 Jul 2024 2 minute read
Counsel General Mick Antoniw

Plans to automatically register voters in Wales have been passed in the Senedd today (9 July), with 400,000 people potentially set to be added to the register.

Mick Antoniw, who is counsel general, the Welsh Government’s chief legal adviser, has described The Elections and Elected Bodies (Wales) Bill, which was first introduced to the Senedd in October 2023 as “groundbreaking”.

Ministers say the new Bill will “remove barriers to democratic engagement and create a system of electoral administration fit for the 21st century”.

The legislation will introduce new pilots leading to the automatic registration of voters for Senedd and local government elections in Wales. It will also establish a new all-Wales body responsible for co-ordinating the administration of Welsh elections

In addition a a new online voter information platform will be created and measures will be introduced
to increase diversity in the membership of the Senedd and local government.

Royal Assent

Expected to get Royal Assent in the summer, the Bill also includes commitments to expand the role and remit of the Democracy and Boundary Commission Cymru.

The proposals complement the recent reforms to the Senedd and its electoral system made through the Senedd Cymru (Members and Elections) Act 2024.

Counsel General, Mick Antoniw, said: “This is a big year for elections, with last week’s General Election reminding us everyone’s vote counts, and by voting we can determine who runs our governments.

“It is important that every citizen has the opportunity to vote and that means being on the electoral register. According to the Electoral Commission, around 400,000 people are missing from it. This is bad for democracy. Our Bill will seek to automatically register every citizen who is entitled to vote.

“Today, members of the Senedd have voted to bring our electoral system into the 21st century and to make it more accountable and accessible to the people of Wales”.


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Evan Aled Bayton
Evan Aled Bayton
4 days ago

Likely this will lead to non eligible persons being registered and double or multiple registrations of persons away at university or working away. If this is done the entire register must be confidential and not sold for commercial use as happens at the moment. This fact causes quite a few people not to register. Some years ago I experienced this when Tony Blair had a drive in registration. I had three addresses at the time and I was sent three sets of postal voting papers.

jimmy
jimmy
4 days ago

If the missing 400,000 citizens wanted to take part in elections all they have to do is register. Where is the freedom to abstain should one wish to. As it stands, the PTB have made it almost impossible to remove yourself from the electoral roll if you are already included on it as you have to give full details of new address etc. before your inclusion is removed. This is a retrograde step if promoting freedom is your real aim. Rather Thatcherite in essence as she hated people who ‘dropped out’….remember the “Battle of the bean field”.?

Riki
Riki
4 days ago

This isn’t democracy, this is the absence of it. One should have a choice to register or not.

Susan
Susan
4 days ago

It’s just so they can claim another ‘first’. The next step is making it against the law not to vote.

Jeff
Jeff
4 days ago

Compulsory voting next.
Caveat is “none of the above” is included.

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