AN emergency bill to ensure the next Senedd election can happen safely, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, has been approved by Members of the Senedd.
The Welsh Elections (Coronavirus) Bill introduces a range of measures to make it easier for those affected by the pandemic to vote.
It will also significantly address the risk of there being an extended period where the Senedd cannot meet that would arise if the Senedd dissolved as normal, on 7 April, and the election could not proceed on 6 May because of the pandemic.
The Welsh Government is clear that the election should go ahead on 6th May 2021 as intended. Everybody should prepare on that basis.
But the Bill makes it possible to delay polling day should the pandemic present such a serious threat to public health and the conduct of the election, that it is not safe to hold the election at that time.
The Bill will become law following Royal Assent by Her Majesty the Queen, which is anticipated in the coming weeks.
Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James said:
“I’m pleased Members of the Senedd have given their approval for the Welsh Elections (Coronavirus) Bill to become law.
“Given the unpredictable nature of the virus, there is significant uncertainty about what the public health situation will be like in May. That’s why we’ve acted now to respond to the potential risks to the election arising from the pandemic.
“The Bill Members of the Senedd have approved today, by a large majority, will help ensure people can exercise their democratic right to vote in the election, but to do so in a safe and secure way.
“The Welsh Government appreciates the huge efforts being made by the staff who run our elections to ensure it can be held safely on Thursday 6th May.”