16-year-olds may soon be able to vote in Welsh elections

A bill has been launched in the Welsh Assembly to follow in Scotland’s footsteps and lower the voting age

Welsh 16-year-olds could soon get their say in the country’s elections if a new campaign to lower the voting age succeeds.

The National Assembly for Wale Commission has introduced the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill today to open up access to ballot papers.

The move comes off the back of an Assembly vote in October last year that gave the Assembly Commission the mandate to draft the legislation.

Wales would not be the first devolved power to lower the voting age as Scotland took the same approach ahead of the 2014 independence referendum. This was later widened to include Scottish government and local elections.

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The ‘member in charge’ tasked with introducing the bill is the Llywydd, Elin Jones AM.

“I hope that the bill will spark interesting and meaningful debate about our democracy and political engagement in Wales,” she said.

“After twenty years, this is a golden opportunity to renew our democracy and ensure that Wales’s national parliament enables us to do our best for our constituents today and for future generations.”

The draft bill also proposes to change the Assembly’s name to Senedd with the aim of improve public understanding of the legislature’s role and responsibilities. If approved, the new name will come into force in May 2020 ahead of the 2021 Assembly election and Senedd will also be able to be referred to as Welsh Parliament

A total of 40 votes are required for the bill to get the greenlight.

Giving future generations a say on governance in Wales is the latest move to help youngsters in Wales.

The Future Generations Commissioner Sophie Howe is one of our 2018 Changemakers, earning her place on the list because of her role in ensuring that every decision made by public bodies in wales takes into account future generations.

She invited Big Issue founder John Bird to deliver the annual Well-being of Future Generations lecture at Cardiff University in December and he has called for the country’s Future Generations Act to be introduced in the rest of the UK.