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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Could Welsh local elections be conducted using fair voting systems?

The most interesting feature of the Welsh white paper on local government published today is the proposal to give 16 and 17 year olds the vote and the suggestion that councils can opt to hold their elections using the single transferable vote system if they wish.

This is especially intriguing because the author of this white paper is a Labour Minister. I suspect that many of his colleagues are not very happy.

The planned reforms would allow Councils to decide which voting system best reflects the needs of their local people and communities. Local Authorities will be able to use the ‘First Past the Post’ or the ‘Single Transferable Vote’ systems.

Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for voting reform to deliver a better politics which is more representative, more co-operative and more diverse.

For us, delivering a fairer voting system and handing more power to voters is an integral part of delivering better public services and a fairer Wales.

Giving people a greater say over how services are run by making every vote count we can create the resilient public services our communities need for the future.

By recognising that people are experts in their own lives, by respecting the views of services users, and by empowering local people, we can create a fairer Wales where everyone has the opportunity to get on in life.

While not going as far as I would like, this is major progress.
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