Automatic voter registration has been proposed in the latest Senedd bill as part of an overhaul of Welsh elections.
Plans to increase the size of the Senedd by electing an extra 36 members from 2026 and will include laws that all candidates must live in Wales, were introduced earlier this month.
Last week a fresh Bill was laid down that would “modernise the way local government and Senedd elections are run and confirms the Welsh Government’s intention to introduce automatic registration across Wales for those elections once a piloting programme has been completed.”
Currently people must register in order to vote, but under the new proposals local government will be required to register people to the local government register without the need for an application.
The Welsh Government said the move “will make voting simpler – especially for young people and for those who have moved to Wales from another country.”
The proposals have been backed by Plaid Cymru, but Welsh Conservatives warned it could cause “unnecessary confusion” for voters.
The new legislation will also require Ministers to establish a fund to help disabled people standing for Welsh elections in the future with additional costs following a pilot trialled in the May 2021 Senedd and May 2022 local government elections.
Another requirement contained in the bill is for an online platform to be set up by the Welsh ministers containing information about Welsh elections for voters.
Mick Antoniw, Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, said: “The reforms in this bill continue the significant progress we have made in strengthening Welsh democracy in recent years, including extending the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds and qualifying foreign nationals.
“Our ambition is for changes to be in place in time for the next major devolved and local elections in 2026 and 2027, bringing us another step closer towards achieving our long-term vision for electoral reform.
“Ultimately this is about making it as easy as possible for people to vote and to participate in democracy.
“Our actions to remove barriers are in direct contrast with the UK Government, which has denied some voters their democratic right by requiring photo ID in recent English local elections.”
Jess Blair, director of Electoral Reform Society Cymru, said: “The legislation introduced by the Welsh Government today will bring democracy in Wales into the 21st century. It is welcome that ministers are looking at how to make voting easier for people, removing barriers that we know many people face.
“The move to automatic voter registration will remove a hurdle for newly enfranchised voters.”