How does voting work in Wales?

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

Four elections are held in Wales. They are set by two different levels of Government.


The UK Government sets the rules for:

  • The election of MPs (Members of Parliament) to the UK Parliament
  • The election of Police & Crime Commissioners


The Senedd sets the rules for:

  • The election of MSs (Members of the Senedd) to the Senedd
  • The election of councillors to Local Government - town, city, county or county borough councils


Across the four elections there are three voting systems in place:

  • Elections to the UK Parliament are held under the 'First Past the Post' system, where the candidate with the most votes in a constituency wins the seat.
  • In Senedd Elections voters have two votes - one for their constituency candidates (which follows the First Past the Post system and will elect 40 constituency MSs) and a second regional vote for the political party of their choice. 20 regional MSs are elected on the basis of the percentage of votes received by their party in the region.
  • Police & Crime Commissioners are elected using the ‘Single Transferable Vote’ system. Candidates are ranked by voters and the candidates with the fewest votes are eliminated, a round at a time, until a candidate has more than 50% of the vote. If a voter’s preferred candidate has been eliminated, their vote is transferred to their next preferred candidate.
  • Local government elections for town, city, county or county borough councils use the First Past the Post system.


Once you have been registered to vote, there are three different ways you can cast your vote:

  • By a postal vote
  • In person by visiting a polling station
  • By 'proxy', which means choosing someone else to vote on your behalf

Who can vote at each election:

Westminster elections:

Across the whole of the UK, to vote in a UK Parliamentary election a person must be must:

  • be registered to vote in the constituency
  • be 18 or over on the day of the election
  • be a British citizen, qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland
  • not be one of the following (who are not allowed to vote): a Peer in the House of Lords, a prisoner serving a prison sentence, or someone who has been convicted of committing certain electoral crimes.

General elections in the UK usually take place every 5 years. The next is scheduled to be held no later than 24 January 2025.


Senedd elections:

To vote in elections to the Senedd you must:

  • be registered to vote
  • be 16 or over on the day of the election
  • live in Wales
  • not be legally excluded from voting

Elections for the Senedd normally take place once every five years. The next Senedd election is scheduled for 2027.


Local government elections:

To vote in a local government election you must:

  • be registered to vote
  • be 16 or over on the day of the election
  • be registered at an address in the area you want to vote in
  • not be legally excluded from voting

Local government elections usually take place every 5 years. The next is scheduled to be held in 2027.


The Police & Crime Commissioner election:

Police and Crime Commissioners are elected in England and Wales to make sure the police meet citizens' needs. There are 4 Police and Crime Commissioners in Wales. To vote in the elections you must:

  • be registered to vote
  • be 18 or over on the day of the election
  • be a British, Irish, qualifying Commonwealth or EU citizen
  • be resident at an address in England or Wales (excluding London)
  • not be legally excluded from voting

The next Police and Crime Commissioner elections will take place in May 2024.

Four elections are held in Wales. They are set by two different levels of Government.


The UK Government sets the rules for:

  • The election of MPs (Members of Parliament) to the UK Parliament
  • The election of Police & Crime Commissioners


The Senedd sets the rules for:

  • The election of MSs (Members of the Senedd) to the Senedd
  • The election of councillors to Local Government - town, city, county or county borough councils


Across the four elections there are three voting systems in place:

  • Elections to the UK Parliament are held under the 'First Past the Post' system, where the candidate with the most votes in a constituency wins the seat.
  • In Senedd Elections voters have two votes - one for their constituency candidates (which follows the First Past the Post system and will elect 40 constituency MSs) and a second regional vote for the political party of their choice. 20 regional MSs are elected on the basis of the percentage of votes received by their party in the region.
  • Police & Crime Commissioners are elected using the ‘Single Transferable Vote’ system. Candidates are ranked by voters and the candidates with the fewest votes are eliminated, a round at a time, until a candidate has more than 50% of the vote. If a voter’s preferred candidate has been eliminated, their vote is transferred to their next preferred candidate.
  • Local government elections for town, city, county or county borough councils use the First Past the Post system.


Once you have been registered to vote, there are three different ways you can cast your vote:

  • By a postal vote
  • In person by visiting a polling station
  • By 'proxy', which means choosing someone else to vote on your behalf

Who can vote at each election:

Westminster elections:

Across the whole of the UK, to vote in a UK Parliamentary election a person must be must:

  • be registered to vote in the constituency
  • be 18 or over on the day of the election
  • be a British citizen, qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland
  • not be one of the following (who are not allowed to vote): a Peer in the House of Lords, a prisoner serving a prison sentence, or someone who has been convicted of committing certain electoral crimes.

General elections in the UK usually take place every 5 years. The next is scheduled to be held no later than 24 January 2025.


Senedd elections:

To vote in elections to the Senedd you must:

  • be registered to vote
  • be 16 or over on the day of the election
  • live in Wales
  • not be legally excluded from voting

Elections for the Senedd normally take place once every five years. The next Senedd election is scheduled for 2027.


Local government elections:

To vote in a local government election you must:

  • be registered to vote
  • be 16 or over on the day of the election
  • be registered at an address in the area you want to vote in
  • not be legally excluded from voting

Local government elections usually take place every 5 years. The next is scheduled to be held in 2027.


The Police & Crime Commissioner election:

Police and Crime Commissioners are elected in England and Wales to make sure the police meet citizens' needs. There are 4 Police and Crime Commissioners in Wales. To vote in the elections you must:

  • be registered to vote
  • be 18 or over on the day of the election
  • be a British, Irish, qualifying Commonwealth or EU citizen
  • be resident at an address in England or Wales (excluding London)
  • not be legally excluded from voting

The next Police and Crime Commissioner elections will take place in May 2024.

Page published: 05 Sep 2023, 03:10 PM