If this is your first time voting, the process may be unfamiliar to you. Here’s our guide to the Senedd and Police and Crime Commissioner Elections on May 6th and what your ballot papers will actually look like.
Hopefully you’ve seen our previous blogs encouraging you to register to vote if you’re 16 or over. If you haven’t registered then unfortunately it’s too late for the elections in May. If you have registered, you’ll get a polling card in the post with your polling station marked on it.
What do I need to take with me?
Polling stations are open between 7am and 10pm. Take your polling card (the card you got in the post), a pen or pencil (because of Covid) and a mask.
You will be given three ballot papers but if you’re 16 or 17 you’ll only be given two as you can’t vote in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections if you’re under 18.
What’s different because of Covid?
Polling stations will be Covid safe environments so they will have screens; social distancing measures and have hand-sanitising stations.
If you’re showing symptoms and have to self isolate then you can choose someone you trust to go to the polling station and vote for you. This is called an emergency proxy vote. You can apply for this up until 5pm on the day of the election.
It’ll take longer this year before we know who’s won. They won’t be starting the count until the next morning and they can’t have as many counters in a room together as they usually would. It’s expected to take two days for the count to be completed.
What am I voting for?
The Senedd makes laws and sets taxes in Wales, overseeing the work of the Welsh Government. The party that wins the most seats in the election forms the Welsh Government, who make policies on devolved matters like health, education and transport – Westminster don’t get to make decisions on these in Wales.
Check out the video below to see what powers the Senedd has.
What votes do I have in the Senedd election?
There are 60 members in the Senedd who will be chosen in these Elections. Five will represent you and your region. One for your local area and the other four for the South Wales Central region. To find out who the candidates are, enter your postcode into the search bar on Who Can I Vote For.
You’ll be given two ballot papers for the Senedd Election. One to vote for your constituency member and one for your regional members.
Constituency member – The person that you want to represent you and your local area. The candidate with the most votes will become one of the 40 constituency members elected into the Senedd.
Regional member – The political party, or independent candidate, that you want to represent South Wales Central. These members are chosen from the number of votes they got as well as the number of constituency seats the party (or individual candidate) has won in the region.
What am I voting for in the Police and Crime Commissioner election?
You must be 18 or over to vote in the Police and Crime Commissioner election. You’ll be choosing a candidate that you want to oversee the South Wales Police. They aim to cut crime and ensure your police force is effective. Check out the South Wales candidates on the Choose My PCC website.
Make sure that what you see online and on social media is true as there can be a lot of misinformation spread around the time of Elections. Learn more about how to spot and stop the spread of misinformation on the Hwb platform.
There’s no one I want to vote for!
You don’t have to vote for someone if you feel that you aren’t represented in these elections. You can still have your say by spoiling your ballot. Spoilt ballots are still counted and it says that you care about being represented. If you don’t turn up it says you’re not interested in politics, if you spoil your ballot it tells them you’re not satisfied. If there are a lot of spoilt ballots it might spur them on to make policy changes in the future to try and attract your vote.
So go ahead, make sure that young people’s voices are heard in this election by getting out to vote on the 6th of May.