Blaenau Gwent Council Considers New Voting System for Local Elections
THE next local elections in Blaenau Gwent could be under a new voting system if councillors agree to changes.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council on Thursday, November 23, councillors will discuss Single Transferable Vote (STV) electoral system, which is a type of proportional representation.
The Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 allows local authorities in Wales to choose STV as the type of electoral system to be used after 2027 instead of the current First Past the Post System.
Head of legal and corporate compliance, Andrea Jones said: “The purpose of this report is to inform members of the newly commenced powers for local authorities to change their voting system for local elections, and to seek their view as to whether they are minded to commence the formal procedure to exercise the power to change.”
The process to adopt STV that the council would need to follow is long.
Firstly, councillors would need to vote to allow the proposal for STV to go out to a public consultation.
Following that, the council would need to sift through the consultation responses and then hold a special council meeting for a further debate.
At this meeting two thirds of councillors, in Blaenau Gwent’s case 22 of 33, would need to vote in favour of STV.
All this would need to be done by a deadline of November 15, 2024, if the next election in 2027 would be held under STV.
Ms Jones said: “If the council makes a resolution to change the voting method, the council will need to inform Welsh ministers and the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission.
“It is likely that Welsh ministers would direct the Boundary Commission to carry out a review of the council’s boundaries.”
Currently Blaenau Gwent has nine wards that elect two councillors and five that elect three councillors.
While the number of councillors would stay at 33, if councillors go for STV the wards would need to be reconfigured.
This is because each ward would need to elect at least three councillors and at the most six.
Voters would also see a change and would need to rank candidates in order of preference, one, two, three, and so on.
Candidates would need to achieve a quota to be successfully elected.
If none are found in the first round of counting, the one with the lowest number of votes drops out and their votes re-allocated – this process would continue until the correct number of councillors are elected.
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