Over 100,000 Welsh voters to be denied a vote as dozens of local elections seats uncontested in Wales
Voters in large parts of Wales will be denied a vote in this May’s local elections after dozens of council seats have already been decided before a single vote is cast.
New analysis by ERS Cymru estimates that 106,920 Welsh voters will be denied a say across Wales with elections effectively cancelled across the country.
Nine out of Wales’ 22 local authorities will see local representatives returned almost a month before polling day. In the worst-affected council area, Gwynedd, 30,722 voters will be denied a choice with 28 out of 69 already decided due to lack of competition.
Across Wales 74 councillors will be elected unopposed, leaving residents without a say over who represents them and their local areas – making decisions on key services such as health, housing and education.
Jess Blair, Director ERS Cymru said: “For over 100,000 voters in Wales May’s elections have been effectively cancelled.
“Local elections are the cornerstone of our democracy – a chance for local people to have their say over how their local area is run and, importantly, over who represents them. But yet again thousands of voters are being denied a voice with results decided weeks before polling day.
“Uncontested seats are yet another symptom of our broken First Past the Post system – one which creates safe seats for some candidates and parties but no-go areas for others.
“However, we now have an opportunity to break this unhealthy cycle and give local democracy a much-needed shot in the arm. For the first time, local councils in Wales have the opportunity to switch over to the more proportional single transferable vote, which is already used in Scotland.
“This would mean politicians will have to fight for every vote as well as ending the scourge of safe seats and travesty of contests being won without a single vote being cast.”
In the town of Caernarfon in Gwynedd, three of the five wards are uncontested. Cai Larsen, elected unopposed to the central ward, said it was “unexpected”.
“To the best of my memory there have been no uncontested Gwynedd Council elections in Caernarfon since the authority came into being,” he said.
“Three of the five are uncontested this time as are all the Town Council seats.”
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