Legislation to ensure the next Senedd election can happen safely, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, has been granted Royal Assent by Her Majesty the Queen.
The Welsh Elections (Coronavirus) Act 2021 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.
The Act 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.
A Bill receives Royal Assent when Letters Patent under the Welsh Seal signed with Her Majesty’s own hand signifying Her Assent are notified to the Clerk of the Senedd.
The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, applied the Welsh Seal to the Letters Patent at a sealing ceremony earlier today.
Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James said:
“I’m pleased the Welsh Elections (Coronavirus) Act has now 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 Act will help ensure people can exercise their democratic right to vote in the election, but to do so in a safe and secure way.”