Leanne Wood AM, leader of Plaid Cymru has promised to introduce online voting for Welsh Assembly elections if her party wins power in this year’s elections.
Speaking at an event organised by the Electoral Reform Society in Aberystwyth, Wood said the trials of online voting would be part of a ‘democratic renewal.’
She also promised to lower the voting age to 16 and to hold cabinet meetings outside of Cardiff in order to be ‘accessible’ and ‘answerable.’
The Welsh Assembly consists of 60 Assembly Members with 40 representing constituencies, and 20 representing regions. Plaid Cymru currently hold 11 seats with Labour running a minority administration with 30 seats. Plaid Cymru are tipped to do well in May and, last year, leader Leanne Wood took part in the televised leaders debates in the run up to the General Election.
The announcement makes Plaid Cymru the second major political party in the UK to commit to introducing online voting, after the Labour Party’s commitment last year to restarting pilots.
However, WebRoots Democracy’s recent report, Secure Voting, included support for online voting from MPs from across the political spectrum including from the Conservatives, the Scottish National Party, and the Liberal Democrats.
Should Plaid Cymru be successful and follow through with their plans, it would make the Welsh Assembly elections the first major election in the UK to use online voting. The largest online voting election in the UK took place last year with over 300,000 people voting online for Jeremy Corbyn to become the Labour leader. Almost a million people voted in the 2011 Welsh Assembly elections, however overall turnout was just 42%.
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