Reform of Electoral Law and Practice

Project status Active

Elections were devolved to Wales through the Government of Wales Act 2017. Since then, Welsh Ministers have embarked on a programme of electoral reform most noted by the extension of the franchise to 16- and 17-year-olds and qualifying foreign citizens for Senedd and local government elections. The Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act also provided the legislative framework for future electoral reform, particularly around automatic registration and the optional use of Single Transferable Voting (STV) at local government elections.

In Wales, there is an ongoing agenda to improve diversity in democracy, both in terms of supporting a wider range of people to stand for elected office and enabling voters from all backgrounds to have a positive experience of the electoral system.

The WCPP has been asked to research electoral practices around the world to inform possible actions that could be taken by the Welsh Government to make elections safer, more inclusive, transparent, and accountable both for the electorate and candidates. The overall topics are:

  • Candidate and agent safety, aiming to ensure that aspiring politicians feel safe when choosing to stand for election;
  • Innovative electoral practices, examining what innovations could be introduced to engage voters e.g. early voting; postal voting; out-of-precinct or flexible voting;
  • Campaign finances and spending, exploring approaches to improving openness and transparency.

For each topic, we are identifying relevant examples of how these issues are approached in other countries and synthesising the evidence to learn what could work in the Welsh context.