Young people in Carmarthenshire are ready to use their vote

MORE 16 and 17-year-olds in Carmarthenshire have registered to vote in the local elections in the last few weeks than in any other part of Wales.

Figures issued by the Electoral Commission Wales show that in the weeks leading up to the April 14 voter registration deadline, more than 400 young people aged 16 and 17 registered to have a vote in the upcoming May 5 elections.

It means they will be able to vote for the candidates they wish to represent their local area in the Carmarthenshire County Council and town and community councils over the next five years.

These are the first local elections where 16 and 17 year olds are eligible to vote following a change in legislation in Wales.

Carmarthenshire County Council has been engaging with young people in recent weeks to explain why it is important that they use their right to vote, and to encourage them to register.

Sessions have been undertaken in local secondary schools featuring a video with sixth form students telling their peers why they feel exercising their democratic rights is important.

One of those speaking to young people in Carmarthenshire was former Ysgol Bro Myrddin pupil Cai Phillips, who was a member of the first Wales Youth Parliament formed in 2018, representing Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.

“If young people don’t turn out to vote, politicians won’t see young people as important and they won’t form policies that will affect them,” he said. “Politicians form policies for voters. If you turn out to vote as a young person you will be able to influence policies, as politicians will want to influence you to vote for them.”

Those that have registered to vote are now being encouraged to use their vote on May 5.

There are three ways to vote – in person at the polling station designated on the poll card between 7am and 10pm on Thursday May 5; by post if an application was made by April 19; or by proxy – asking someone to vote for on your behalf if you can’t make it because you are unwell or away at the time of the election. The deadline to apply for a proxy vote is 5pm on Tuesday, April 26, however emergency applications will be considered up until 5pm on May 5.

For further information about the Local Elections, including details of candidates standing for election in Carmarthenshire and advice about how to vote, visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/elections