Welsh Assembly passes new law which allows 16 and 17 year olds to vote

They will now be able to take part in the 2021 Welsh Assembly election


The new legislation, passed on Wednesday, will give voting rights to 70,000 teenagers. The law also enfranchises 33,000 foreign nationals.

The historic change now means that more teenagers can vote, giving them a say on decisions on the future of Wales.

Amongst the 41 members who backed this bill, Labour, Welsh Government ministers and Plaid Cymru were in favour. Whereas, The Conservatives and Brexit party did not support it.

Presiding Officer Elin Jones, who does not usually take part in Senedd votes, said: "It will empower young people to participate in the democratic process. It will create a more inclusive, diverse and effective Senedd."

The result is that 16 and 17-year-olds will be able to vote in the next Welsh Assembly election in 2021.

Foreign nationals will also be able to vote; as well as those who are EU and Commonwealth citizens.

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

Although it's a great achievement, the question remains as to whether 16-year-olds will actually vote or not.

Geraint Williams, 19, from Cardiff said: "young people are definitely more engaged in politics" meaning that they have a wider understanding of what the government is deciding and doing for them.

Leaning more towards Labour but still unsure, the musical theatre student said "we're realising that it's our future and we are the future generation and that we have the opportunity to make the final decision."

Plaid Cymru AM Rhun ap Lorwerth said: "We trust them, we're ready to listen to them and we're ready to take their decisions seriously."