For the first time, 16 and 17 year-olds in Wales will be able to vote in the Senedd elections, which are due to be held on the 6th May 2021, but there are concerns that many have not yet registered, with time running out to do so.
Around 70,000 young people in total will be eligible to cast their vote in the sixth general election since the Senedd was established in 1999, but figures gathered by the Election Reform Society suggest that fewer than 9,000 are currently registered in six counties, with the deadline of Monday 19th April fast approaching.
In the 6th May elections, people of Wales will elect 60 representatives, known as Members of the Senedd (MS) with the party that garners the most Members able to form the next Welsh Government. Members pass laws on aspects of life in Wales such as health, education and transport – and have some tax powers.
Only 6 of the 22 counties in Wales provided data on how many 16 and 17 year-olds had registered as of the 7th April, these being; Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Conwy, Dengbishire and here in the Vale of Glamorgan.
In terms of percentages, the Vale had the highest figure, with 64.9% of the county’s 16 and 17 year-olds having registered. The county with the lowest percentage of young people in this age bracket registered was Swansea, with a mere 32.6% of their young people having signed up.
More recent data, provided to Bro Radio by the Vale of Glamorgan Council shows that as of Friday 16th April, here in the Vale, 949 16-year-olds and 1,020 17-year-olds have registered themselves to vote.
Jess Blair of the Election Reform Society has said that young people were “at risk of not having their say” adding:
“The Senedd elections represent a huge opportunity for young people to make their voices heard on a range of issues that affect their lives including education, health and the economy.
“The extension of the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds should be a historic moment for Wales, but to make that happen 16 and 17-year-olds need to register and turn out to vote.”
If you are not already registered, you have until 23:59 on 19 April to sign up. You can do so on the Government’s website, here – https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.