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‘Rotten’ Westminster electoral system ‘behind the times’ compared with Wales

18 Nov 2019 3 minutes Read
Westminster and the Senedd. Picture on the right by Richard Szwejkowski (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Democracy in England is looking “glaringly behind the times” compared to Wales, according to the Electoral Reform Society.

New legislation published today by the Welsh Government will pave the way for votes at 16 at local elections in Wales.

It will also allow councils to switch from a first-past-the-post voting system to the proportional Single Transferable Vote (STV) method.

If the bill passes, England will soon be alone in using for using First Past the Post for all local elections, as Scotland and Northern Ireland use STV.

Wales’ move is part of a package of reforms that make up the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill.

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said the changes were a real boost for Welsh democracy.

“Sadly, Westminster and local elections in England are looking increasingly out-of-touch and outdated in contrast,” he said.

“Scotland, Wales and NI all using proportional voting systems for fair results, while Scotland and Wales are expanding the franchise to young people.

“Today’s move is a testament to the campaigning of ERS Cymru and is a real step forward.

“With trust in politics at rock bottom and people desperately wanting to be heard, it’s vital we bring our democratic structures into the 21st century. This election should be the last ever conducted under a rotten First Past the Post set up.

“With millions of votes going to waste in local and Westminster elections, it’s about time the whole UK backed the reforms in Wales and Scotland and ensured all voters were heard. Let’s build a stronger franchise and a better democracy.”

 

‘Gamechanger’

Jess Blair, Director of ERS Cymru, said that the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bil had the potential to “revolutionise” democracy in Wales.

“The inclusion of measures to extend the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds in local elections will offer young people the chance to have a say in crucial decisions that affect them at a local level,” she said.

“It is also great to see, with a separate Bill going through the assembly on Senedd elections at the moment, that the franchise will be consistent for all Welsh elections.

“Proposals to allow councils to move to a fairer voting system have the potential to be a gamechanger and local authorities should consider these reforms seriously.

“It is clear that the current voting system in local elections limits diversity, ensures wasted votes and encourages uncontested seats. STV, as is used for both Scottish and Northern Irish local elections, should be adopted across Wales as the voting system for local elections. This is a substantial first step.

“Plans to change the way electoral registration works, by developing automatic registration are very welcome.

“Integrating services and information so Electoral Registration Officers can easily identify people who should be on the register will not only simplify the registration process but ensure far more people across Wales are registered to vote.

“This is fundamental to making sure that more people have their say on local services that affect their lives.”

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Dave Brooker
Dave Brooker
1 year ago

Welsh office did more for us here, than the Welsh assembly ever has…

Bryn Colion
Bryn Colion
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Brooker

Evidence? I dont remember them doing anything apart from removing train lines, drowning valleys and taking the privately raised fund for Aberfan away from the victims in the 1960s

Dave Brooker
Dave Brooker
1 year ago
Reply to  Bryn Colion

3 factories, a community centre and a bypass, WA have done nothing, one trick ponies who only care about Cardiff bay and getting their noses in the trough

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Brooker

It was certainly a slight improvement on what had gone on before its creation, i.e. nothing, but obviously it fell far short of the mark. Now it has degenerated into a facility for imposing Cairns’s so-called ‘economic powerhouses’ on the North East and South East of the country. Cairns may have gone, but believe me, his government’s policies on Wales will still be in place when the next Governor-General takes over.

Charles L. Gallagher
Charles L. Gallagher
1 year ago

In Scotland, we already have votes at 16 in all elections under the aegis of the Scottish Government!!!

Jonathon Gammond
Jonathon Gammond
1 year ago

Pleased to hear that STV could be coming to Wales’s council elections – it maintains the constituency/ward link but requires candidates to appeal to voters more widely. Perhaps WAG could extend it to the elections to the Senedd and replace the current FPTP with its bolt-on rotten list system.

Plain citizen
Plain citizen
1 year ago

If 16 and 17 year olds are good enough to elect the government of Wales they certainly should be allowed to buy alcohol, drive and marry etc. Any age discrimination after this voting reform is ridiculous.

Bryn Colion
Bryn Colion
1 year ago
Reply to  Plain citizen

you can marry at 16 I thought ….?

Redmond Mocke
Redmond Mocke
1 year ago
Reply to  Plain citizen

The left wing thinking is that 16 and 17 year old are easy to brainwash into their thinking. If you are not a Liberal at 20 you have no heart. If you are still a Liberal at 30 you have no brains.

Sibrydionmawr
Sibrydionmawr
1 year ago
Reply to  Redmond Mocke

And right-wing thinking isn’t also a factor? After all, right-wing thinking seemed very able to brain wash 17.4 million morons into voting against their own best interests.

Redmond Mocke
Redmond Mocke
1 year ago

I would like to see a United States of Britain replacing the Union. Four self governing states. The HOL replaced by a senate with equal representation of the four states. Or better still the former Welsh Marches becoming a 5th State. My reason being that after 2 millennia if intermingling and intertmarrying it is now impossible to separate the four states. The population will NEVER vote for it as Scotland found out.

Sibrydionmawr
Sibrydionmawr
1 year ago
Reply to  Redmond Mocke

Beware, you may well have to eat those words, and in the not to distant future. Never say never!

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