The IWA has responded to the Welsh Government consultation on electoral reform in local government.
We welcome the wide range of proposals contained within the consultation and the spirit of ambition for change it exhibits. The consultation sets out a series of reforms to who can vote, the way we vote, and the way the electoral register is administered that, if properly implemented, could have a real impact on the strength of the public sphere in Wales.
In particular the IWA welcomed proposals to allow 16 and 17 year-olds to vote, break the impasse surrounding prisoner voting and implement an all-Wales electronic register, which would allow a much more modern and flexible voting experience.
However, we identified four key limitations to the proposals:
- A failure to reconsider the balance of power between local and central government in the light of further devolution.
- The lack of joined-up thinking surrounding compatibility between the proposals and mandatory regional working between councils.
- No serious consideration of proportional electoral systems.
- No mention of increasing diversity in elected officials, despite previous representations made on this topic.
Our full response to the consultation is available to read here.