BACK in November 2021 the Welsh Government announced that they intended to hold advanced voting pilot schemes for the May 5 local elections.
In March, the Welsh Government’s Counsel General and Constitution Minister, Mick Antoniw announced that Blaenau Gwent, along with Bridgend, Caerphilly and Torfaen councils would hold the pilot schemes.
Next Thursday, May 5, the polls will open right across Wales, but four local authorities are piloting “advance voting.This allows people to vote early on different days to the traditional Thursday election day.
Mick Antoniw, said:
“These pilots are another step in ensuring elections in Wales are as accessible as possible.
“We want it to be as easy as possible to vote, increasing turnout and creating political structures that are more representative of the people they serve.”
There will also be another change to the local elections elections system in Wales. Just as for last year’s Senedd election 16- and 17-year-olds as well as all foreign nationals living in Wales, will also be able to vote.
In Blaenau Gwent for example, people will be able to vote on Tuesday May 3 and on Wednesday May 4 at Coleg Gwent’s Ebbw Vale Learning Zone, between 8am and 4pm. Any resident in Blaenau Gwent can vote at Coleg Gwent, regardless of where they live and the location of their usual traditional polling station.
Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council returning officer Andrea Jones said:
“The scheme will bring the ballot box closer to people’s day to day lives.
“This is the next step in ensuring elections in Wales are as accessible as possible and that everyone who wants to vote can vote.”
Jessica Blair, Director of Electoral Reform Society Cymru, commented:
“We know that we have to do more to tackle Wales’ democratic deficit and the pilots look set to be the first step in a big emphasis on this in Wales.
“These flexible voting pilots could be part of that picture, alongside better political education in schools and stronger public information campaigns.
“This feels like a really exciting time for innovation in our elections, bringing democracy much closer to where it should be in 2022. ”