Posted: Wed 18th Oct 2023

Calls to Change Councillor Election System in Pembrokeshire Denied /
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Oct 18th, 2023

A call to change the way councillors are elected in Pembrokeshire by adopting the Single Transferable Vote system failed to gain headway last week.
All councillors in Wales are currently elected using a simple majority system, commonly known as first past the post (FPTP).
Each council will continue to use this method unless it decides to change to a system known as the Single Transferable Vote (STV) under 2021 legislation, a change that would not affect town and community council elections.
A report before members of the October meeting of Pembrokeshire county Council said: “Should council wish to remain on the FPTP system then no further action is required at this stage by council.
“Should council conclude they wish to consider the STV further then we will move to a period of public consultation before bringing a report back to council, at which point council will vote to change the system to STV but will need a two thirds majority to do so.”
The more complex STV system differs in a number of ways, including that every single county council ward would need to be multi-member, with voters ranking the candidates according to their order of preference.
It was recommended Pembrokeshire retained the existing system, as used in general elections.
Liberal Democrat Alistair Cameron, backed by fellow party member Cllr Alec Cormack moved an amendment the STV system be adopted, following a long-standing wish of their political party.
Cllr Cameron said: “I personally think in the STV system there are more positives than negatives,” adding: “STV will encourage more people to stand in the council elections; at the last council elections there were 19 uncontested elections, if we have more elections that is better for democracy.”
He finished: “We would be asking people in Pembrokeshire what they want rather than what we decide for them.”
Cllr Di Clement emphatically said there should be a “no, thank you” to the proposed amendment, saying it was “costly and confusing”.
Cllr Alan Dennison said keeping the status-quo was “not going to cost the council a penny piece,” comparing it to the “failed” long-standing Liberal-Democrat support for STV.
Cllr Rhys Sinnett said he had sympathy for adopting STV, but felt there was a need to educate voters about how to use the more complex system, which he felt should be a national discussion before becoming a county one.
As the proposed amendment effectively opposed the recommendation, the latter was voted on first, with 53 in favour, four against, and one abstention. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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