Voting in your local authority elections is an important and powerful way to get your voice heard about issues that affect you and your community. If you’re aged 16+, you’ll be able to vote in these elections.
What are the local elections?
The next Welsh local elections are being held on 5th May 2022. The last time these elections were held was in 2017.
Local elections are an opportunity for you to vote for your local councillors. These are the people who will represent you and make decisions for your community for the next four years.
New counsellors will be chosen for each of the 22 local authorities across Wales. Your local authority is also known as your local government or council. You can find which council represents your local area here.
Each local authority is split into different smaller areas called wards. You’ll vote for councillors you’d like to see represent your ward in the local election.
Why should I vote in my local elections?
Local councillors make decisions about issues that affect us daily, like how often your rubbish is collected and whether your local park needs to be improved. Find out what else your local council is responsible for here.
By voting, you can help decide who represents you and what issues your local councillors discuss. You can contact your local councillors to ask them questions about what’s happening in your area or to share worries you may have about what’s going on near you.
To find out more about what your vote goes toward in local elections, watch this short video featuring young people from Torfaen County Borough Council.
Register to vote
All legal residents of Wales who will be 16 or over on polling day can vote in Senedd and local elections. If you’d like to vote in the upcoming local authority elections, you’ll need to register to vote. Without registering, you won’t be able to cast your ballot.
Registering to vote is quick, easy, and can be done online by anyone in Wales aged 14 or above. You’ll stay registered to vote for every election in your area as long as you live at the same address and don’t change your name. You can update your name and address by using the Register To Vote service.
If you’re not sure if you’ve registered to vote before, contact your local Electoral Registration Office.
Not going to be around on polling day or don’t want to go to the polling station? Don’t worry! You can register to vote by post or proxy by filling in an application form from your local council.
The deadline to register to vote is 11:59PM on Thursday 14th April 2022.
Who should I vote for?
Once you’re registered to vote, you’ll need to think about who you’d like to vote for. Remember, who you vote for is your choice, and no one should pressure you to vote a certain way.
In the run-up to elections, lots of candidates will be campaigning. You might see adverts on TV and social media, or you may have leaflets being posted through your door to encourage you to vote a certain way. This may help you to understand more about your local candidates and what they hope to do in your local area. However, sometimes this can be biased, so you shouldn’t rely solely on what you see being advertised to make your decision.
The best way to choose who you think would be best to represent you is by taking the time to research your candidates. Websites like this one can show you who is running in your local ward.
If you’re aged between 14 and 18, check out the useful voting information on the Electoral Commission’s website.
Find out more about voting in the local elections using this handy guide from the BBC.
This article was originally written for Meic, the information, advice and advocacy helpline for young people in Wales.
Check out this Easy Read guide to voting below: