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Votes at 16

A new law means 16 year olds can vote in the 2021 Senedd Elections.


Votes at 16 for Senedd Elections


16 and 17 year olds will be able to vote for the first time at the Senedd Elections in 2021, as part of the biggest changes to the democratic process in Wales in half a century.

The change was introduced in the Senedd and Election (Wales) Act 2020 which introduced the largest franchise extension in Wales since 1969.

It means that 16 and 17 year olds will - for the first time - have influence in choosing the Members who will represent them in the next Senedd, giving them a voice over the decisions that will define their future.

The last time the voting age was lowered, from 21 to 18, was in the Representation of the People Act in 1969.

The proposal was recommended by the independent Expert Panel on Assembly Electoral Reform, following a public consultation. The consultation showed that 59% of people responding agreed that voting should be lowered to 16.

Extending the franchise to 16-year-olds is "long awaited" according to the Llywydd of the Senedd, Elin Jones AM;

"Votes at 16 will empower our young people to participate in the democratic process and give young people a stronger voice in the future of our nation.

"Empowering young people to vote at 16 is a powerful statement from the Senedd that we value their views.

"It will strengthen our democracy for the twenty first Century and bring new energy to our democratic process.

“Votes at 16 will have to be accompanied by appropriate political and citizenship education and public awareness-raising to ensure young people are encouraged and supported to exercise their right to vote.”




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