TODAY’S the day – the Senedd Election is here, and, with coronavirus uncertainty still lingering in everyday life, people may still have some questions about what will happen.
Today the people of Wales will vote to decide who their Senedd Members will be for the next five years.
There are 60 MSs in total.
The election will also decide who forms the next Welsh Government – responsible for hospitals, schools and transport in Wales.
The Welsh Government is formed from the party holding the most seats and is led by the first minister.
If a single party wins more than 30 seats, they are able to form a government. Otherwise a coalition must be attempted.
Who can vote?
Anyone over the age of 16 can vote in the Senedd election provided they are:
– registered to do so
– living in Wales
– not legally excluded from voting
This is the first time 16 and 17-year-olds have been eligible to vote. What impact that has on the result remains to be seen.
How do I vote?
There are three ways – in person, by post and by proxy – however, the deadlines for latter two options have already passed.
Voting at the polling booth with take place until 10pm today.
Polling stations will be kitted out with hand sanitiser and distancing markers to help voters remain safe from coronavirus.
Most crucially, voters are being asked to bring their own pen or pencil.
Face coverings must also be worn, unless exempt.
How does the voting system work?
Each voter will have two votes – one constituency vote and one regional vote.
You’ll be represented in the Senedd by five Members. One for your constituency and four for the region of Wales where you live.
Constituency vote – this is for the person you want to represent you and your local area. Wales has 40 constituencies, with each being represented by one MS in the Senedd. Constituency votes are counted in a first past the post system – so the candidate with the most votes is elected.
Regional vote – This is for who you want to represent your region of Wales – South Wales East, South Wales Central, South Wales West Mid and West Wales and North Wales. There are 20 regional Senedd Members, elected by the additional member system.
When will results be announced?
As with a lot of things this past year, the election has been hit by Covid restrictions.
While voting will happen today, counting will not take place the same night as is usually the case on election night.
Instead, the votes will be taken to the counting locations and kept secure until morning.
They will then be verified – spoiled ballots removed – and counted.
Due to Covid restrictions, this will likely take longer than in normal counts, but results are expected within two days of polls closing.
Keep an eye on the Argus website for the latest, and results.