A representative democracy gives political power to the voter. Making sure that voters are truly representative of the population in Wales is really important to us at Diverse Cymru. To work toward this aim, we’ve asked Ella Downing from the Electoral Commission in Wales to produce this blog, to give information and some help on the voting process. Registering to vote only takes 5 minutes, get registering!
On Thursday 6 May 2021, there will be Senedd and Police and Crime Commissioner elections in Wales.
The Senedd has powers to make laws for Wales on a range of areas including health, the economy, education, housing, transport, and varying some taxes. The Police and Crime Commissioner oversees your local police force and ensures they are prioritising what matters to you.
The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity. Ahead of elections, the Commission works to ensure all voters have the information they need to register and cast their vote with confidence.
Got 5 minutes to register to vote? To vote at the elections on 6 May, you must be registered by midnight on 19 April.
Many factors influence voter registration and turnout. But, research we published in 2019 found that one in four black and Asian people, one in six people with a learning disability and one in three young people were not correctly registered to vote.
The good news is that it only takes five minutes so you can do it while running a bath, doing laundry or waiting for your kettle do boil.
And this year more people can register and vote in Wales than ever before.
16 and 17 year olds and qualifying foreign citizens can vote in the Senedd elections for the first time. A qualifying foreign citizen is a citizen of another country who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need such permission. You can check which elections you’re eligible to vote in using our online tool.
We know voters, particularly those that haven’t taken part before, can have questions and be unsure how the process works. The Commission is running a ‘Welcome to your vote’ campaign encouraging both groups to register and take part in our democracy.
We have put together an election FAQ document in five foreign languages for those who may find it difficult to access English language information. If you are interested in learning more, or work with those that do, promotional assets are available to download from our website.
Additionally, the Commission has created a new set of political literacy resources for young people, to help them feel confident to take part in the elections and know that their vote matters.
3 ways to cast your vote
Once registered, there are a number of ways to have your say at the elections – you can vote in a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, known as a proxy vote.
To apply to vote by post or proxy, you need to download an application form via our website and return it to your local electoral registrations office. The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on April 20 and the deadline to apply for a proxy vote is 5pm on April 27.
While things may look slightly different this year given the public health situation, for those that choose to vote in person, polling stations will be safe places to vote. You can keep yourself and others safe by:
- wearing a face covering
- bringing your own pen or pencil
- cleaning your hands when entering and leaving the polling station
- keeping a safe distance
You should not attend the polling station if you have symptoms of Covid-19, or if you have been asked to self-isolate. If you become unwell shortly before polling day, or on the day itself, you don’t need to miss out on your vote. You will be able to apply for an emergency proxy vote. Speak to your electoral registrations team to arrange this. You can find their contact details via our postcode lookup tool.
Voters can visit the ‘I am a voter’ section of our website for more information on how to register and vote. An information booklet will also be sent to all households in Wales at the start of April.
Tel/Ffôn: 0333 103 1929