In an historic moment for Welsh politics, today Assembly members voted in favour of legislation which will see the biggest franchise extension in Wales since 1969, when the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 in the Representation Of The People Act.
Some of the main changes in this legislation include, lowering the voting age to 16, giving the vote to eligible foreign nationals and changing 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. The official name of the Assembly has also been changed to Sennedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament.
Elin Jones A.M, the Llywydd of the Assembly said this about The Bill, “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 legislation means that 16 and 17 year olds will be able to vote in the Welsh General Election in 2021.
Ben Dain-Smith presents the Indie Disco and writes online content for Bro Radio 98.1fm.