16-year-olds could get vote as Wales prepares for major electoral shake-up

Local elections in Wales could be due a major shake-up as the Welsh Government launches a consultation on electoral reform.

Extending the vote to 16 and 17 year olds, electronic voting and proportional representation are just some of the proposals that have been announced.

Swimming pools, supermarkets and train stations could become alternative polling stations under the plans to modernise voting.

Foreign citizens who normally live in Wales could be given the right to vote in council polls. The Welsh Government also wants to know what people think of giving convicted prisoners the vote, if that becomes a practical possibility.

Councils could also be given the option of switching to elections by proportional representation under the proposals. There will now be a 12 week consultation period, ahead of a new Local Government Bill.

If enacted, it could amount to the biggest change in the Welsh electoral system since 1970 - when the voting age was lowered to 18.

The powers to make these changes have been transferred to the Welsh Assembly under the Wales Act, which was passed at Westminster earlier this year.

The proposals are intended to make it easier for people to vote and modernise the voting system.

Changes could also be made to the voting system itself with councils being given the option of using First-Past-the-Post or a Single Transferable Vote system.

The National Union of Students in Wales has welcomed the proposals as an opportunity for young people in Wales to be 'active citizens in their communities'.

Plaid Cymru say they have long campaigned for lowering of the voting age in Wales to 16 years old.