Sixteen and 17-year-olds across Pembrokeshire and all of Wales will be able to vote in the next assembly elections, as part of the biggest changes to the democratic process in Wales in half a century.

Assembly Members today (27 November 2019) voted in favour of the legislation, which will also see the name of the Assembly changed to Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament.

The Senedd and Elections Bill, which will implement the largest franchise extension in Wales since 1969.

The Bill contains wide-ranging reforms which mean changes to the rules about who can vote and who can stand as candidates in Assembly elections.

The last time the voting age was lowered, from 21 to 18, was in the Representation of the People Act in 1969. Extending the franchise to 16-year-olds is "long-awaited" according to the Llywydd of the Assembly, Elin Jones AM: "This was a vote to empower our young people to participate in the democratic process by extending the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds – a move which, for some, is long overdue.

"This Bill, in my view, will create a more inclusive, diverse and effective Senedd, and will strengthen our democracy for the twenty-first century. One that will give our legislature a name which is a true reflection of its constitutional status and improves public understanding of the Senedd's responsibilities. And one that will bring new energy to our democratic process.

"I am pleased that Wales has taken this important step to strengthen the foundations of our parliamentary democracy, a move that future generations will thank us for."

The main changes include:

  • Lower the voting age to 16.
  • The new official name of Senedd Cymru / Welsh Parliament.
  • Giving the vote to eligible foreign nationals.
  • Change the law so that most disqualifications prohibit a person from taking up a seat in the Assembly but not from standing for election, thereby allowing more people to stand for election.
  • To make the Electoral Commission funded by and accountable to the Assembly for Welsh elections.