Senedd Election FAQs

From how the Senedd voting system works to how long Members of the Senedd are elected for. Take a look at our frequently asked questions.

About the Senedd Election

General Questions

What is the Senedd?

The Senedd is the devolved parliament for Wales.

The Senedd is completely separate to the Welsh Government. The Senedd checks the work of the Welsh Government, making sure plans for spending money or running services is done in the best way possible for Wales.


How often do elections to the Senedd take place?

Elections to the Senedd normally take place once every five years. The next election is due to take place on 6 May 2021.


How many Members of the Senedd are there?

There are 60 Members of the Senedd.


How long are Members of the Senedd elected for?

Senedd Members are elected until the next election.

A Senedd election will normally be held on the first Thursday in May, every five years.


Are the Senedd and the UK Parliament constituencies the same?

There are 40 constituency seats for Senedd elections. They are the same as those used for Westminster elections.

The Senedd also has 20 Regional Members, which represent 5 electoral regions, with 4 elected Members per region.

Westminster boundaries may change before the next UK General election but this doesn’t mean that Senedd constituency boundaries will change.

Can I see a map of the Senedd’s constituencies and regions?

Yes. This is available on the Senedd website. Using your postcode, you can see which region and constituency you’re in.


Where can I find guidance on how Senedd elections are conducted?

Guidance for members of the public, candidates and electoral officials is provided by the Electoral Commission, and can be found on their website.

The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. It sets the standards for running elections and reports on how well this is done. Its main aim is to increase public confidence in the democratic process. It is funded by and accountable to the Senedd in respect of local authority and Senedd elections.

Who is responsible for the funding of Senedd elections?

The Welsh Government funds the Senedd elections. Returning Officers (the Chief Executive of the local authority) are responsible for arranging the elections in their area.

Where can I find past election results?

The results of past Senedd elections can be seen on the Senedd website

Where can I get the results of the election?

The results of the Senedd election are reported live in special coverage by various media outlets including BBC, ITV and S4C – on television, radio and online.

How soon after the election will a government be formed?

When you vote in a Senedd election, you’re not just deciding who’ll represent you and your community, your vote goes towards deciding who’ll be able to form the next Welsh Government.

A Party that wins 30 or more seats will form the Welsh Government.

What happens in the event of no overall majority for any party?

If no single party wins 30 seats in the Senedd, then two or more parties may decide to work together to form a coalition government.

This happened following the 2007 Assembly election, and led to the formation of the Labour/Plaid Cymru coalition government in Wales.

However, it’s possible that the largest party may seek to govern with no overall majority, as Labour did after the 2011 election.


About voting


Why should I vote?

Your vote is a powerful thing. It lets you have your say on how the country is run. Whether you’re voting in an election, or a referendum, your vote is important. Your vote is one way you make your voice heard.

Why do the Senedd elections matter?

Every year, around £17 billion is spent in Wales, on things that affect your life like education and health services. You’ll have seen recently how decisions in Wales relating to the Covid-19 pandemic have been different to other parts of the UK.

The Senedd is responsible for making sure these decisions represent the interests of Wales and its people, by making laws for Wales, agreeing Welsh taxes and holding the Welsh Government to account.

How do I register to vote?

To be able to vote in an election in Wales, you need to be registered to vote. Registering to vote is quick and easy. We have information on the Senedd website about how you register to vote, as well as when you need to register by.

Will I be able to vote for my Members of the Senedd in the election?

Yes, if you are eligible and registered to vote in Wales.

You need to be on the electoral register to vote in elections in Wales. You can find more information about how to register and ways to vote on our website.

How does the Senedd voting system work?

Voting in a Senedd election is your chance to have your say about who’ll represent you and your community at the Senedd. Your vote can influence who’ll be in charge of the powers the Senedd and the Welsh Government has to shape life in Wales.

Everyone in Wales gets two votes in a Senedd election:

  • Constituency vote
  • Regional Vote

Constituency Member

Your first vote is for the person you want to represent you and your local area, known as your constituency.

There are 40 constituencies in Wales, each sending one person to the Senedd.

Constituency Members are chosen using the first-past-the-post system. This means, the person who gets most votes is elected, and represents you and your constituency in the Senedd.

You can see which constituency you’re in, and who represents you using the postcode search on our website.

Regional Member

Your second vote is to choose the people you want to represent your region of Wales.

There are five regions in Wales, each sending four people to the Senedd.

Regional Members are chosen using the Additional Member System. The Additional Member system helps the final make-up of the Senedd better reflect the support for each party across the country.

Here's how the regional system works:

  • each party or group has a list of people ready to represent each region in Wales;
  • you vote for the party you want to represent your region;
  • each party’s total is divided by 1 + the number of Members of the Senedd it already has in that region who have won constituency seats;
  • the party with the highest total after this calculation gets the next seat and the person on top of its list is elected;
  • this is repeated until all four regional seats have been decided.

Two votes, Five Members

This voting system means you’re represented in the Senedd by five Members. One for your constituency and four for the region of Wales where you live.

In total, 60 people are sent to the Senedd from across the country to represent Wales, and its people.

All constituency and regional Members have equal status in the Senedd. This means the interests of all of Wales’ constituencies and regions are equally represented.


Who is eligible to vote?

To vote in a the Senedd election you must be registered to vote, 16 years of age or over on the day of the election (polling day) and:

  • be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the European Union, or a qualifying foreign citizen
  • be a resident in Wales, and
  • not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote

Who is a qualifying Commonwealth citizen?

To qualify, Commonwealth citizens must be resident in Wales and either have leave to remain in the UK or not require such leave. Commonwealth citizens include those of British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories.

A full list of eligible Commonwealth countries, British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories can be downloaded from the Electoral Commission’s website.

Who is a citizen of the European Union?

An "EU citizen" is someone with citizenship of any one of the EU member states. A full list of EU member states can be downloaded from the Electoral Commission’s website.

Who is a qualifying foreign citizen?

A qualifying foreign citizen is a citizen of any other country outside of those identified as a Commonwealth country, British Crown Dependency, British Overseas Territory or EU Member State, who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who do not need such permission.

What happens at the polling station?

Voting at a polling station is very straightforward and there is always help available. Information on how to fill in your ballot paper will be provided by the polling clerk at your polling station.

You can find further information on the Electoral Commission’s website.

Do I need to take my polling card with me?

No, you do not need to take your polling card with you. You can still vote even if you’ve lost or misplaced it.

Are there special provisions for those with disabilities, and those who need assistance?

If you're not sure what to do, or need any help, just ask the staff at the polling station – they will be happy to assist you to cast your vote.

If you have a disability which means you can't fill in the ballot paper yourself, you can ask the Presiding Officer to mark the ballot paper for you.

If you have a visual impairment, you can ask for a large print ballot paper, or a special voting device, to help you cast your vote.

Do I have to go to a polling station to vote?

No. You can also choose to vote by post, or to vote by proxy.

Vote by post

If you’re 16 or over, you can apply for a postal vote to use in Senedd and local elections in Wales. You don’t need to give a reason.

You’ll need to fill in a postal vote application form. You can get this from your contact your local Electoral Registration Office.

When Senedd and local elections take place in Wales, you’ll be sent your ballot paper, along with instructions about how to fill it in.

You’ll only be sent this when you’re 16 or over at the time of a Senedd or local election.

To apply for a postal vote, you must be registered to vote first.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote for the elections on 6 May 2021 is 17.00 on Tuesday 20 April.

You must also be registered to vote by midnight on Monday 19 April.

Vote by proxy

If you’re 16 or over, you can apply for a proxy vote to use in Senedd and local elections in Wales. You’ll need to give a reason for why you want to vote by proxy.

A proxy vote means you choose someone you trust to vote on your behalf. This can be helpful if you have a medical issue or disability that stops you going to a polling station, or if you’re planning to be abroad on election day.

To apply for a proxy vote, you must be registered to vote first. The person you choose to vote on your behalf also needs to be registered to vote.

You can find further information on the Electoral Commission’s website.

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote for the elections on 6 May 2021 is 17.00 on Tuesday 27 April.

You must also be registered to vote by midnight on Monday 19 April.


About candidates


Who can stand as a candidate to be a Member of the Senedd?

Anyone can stand as a candidate, as long as they meet the requirements set out in the Government of Wales Act and election regulations.

To be able to stand as a constituency or regional candidate at the Senedd election candidates must, on the day you are nominated and on polling day, be:

  • at least 18 years old, and
  • a British citizen, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen, a qualifying foreign citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a citizen of the European Union who is resident in the United Kingdom.

There are also a few reasons that might disqualify candidates from standing for election. The Electoral Commission produces guidance to potential candidates to explain these requirements and who may be disqualified.

Where can I find information about standing as a candidate in Senedd elections?

The Electoral Commission produces guidance for candidates in advance of a Senedd election.

You can find further information about standing as a candidate in a Senedd election on the Electoral Commission’s website.

How much can candidates spend on an election campaign?

There are rules that control spending by political parties at different types of elections. It is the Electoral Commission that oversees that aspect of the election process.

You can find further information on the Electoral Commission’s website.


Where can I find a list of candidates?

You should contact your local Electoral Registration Office to find out who is standing in your area.

Your local Electoral Registration Office will display the names of all the candidates before polling day.

There is no single, official source of detailed information about candidates, so you should visit candidate websites, party websites, or contact the parties standing in your local area and region.

Candidates may send information about themselves to you, as part of their campaigning activities in your area.

Where can I get copies of election manifestos?

Manifestos are published by the political parties or independent candidates to let people know what they want to do if they get your vote.

They may be published on the websites of the political parties or independent candidates. You can find links to the websites of all registered political parties on the Electoral Commission’s website.