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Council to continue with current voting system

Bridgend County Borough Council’s voting system will remain unchanged for at least the 2027 local elections after full Council decided against holding a consultation about transferring to a Single Transferable Vote system (STV). 

A First Past the Post system is currently used for local elections in Wales but the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 allows local authorities to choose the STV system from 2027 onwards. 

The STV system would require voters to rank the candidates on the ballot paper in order of preference. Voters would have the choice of ranking as many or as few of the candidates as they wish. The counting, which often takes two to three days, is done in rounds and based on candidates meeting a quota figure (calculated by a standardised formula) in order to be elected.

The report also noted that changing the voting system to STV would require a boundary review of all current county borough wards to ensure there is a minimum of three and no more than six councillors per ward.

A legal requirement of any change is consultation, that as a minimum would involve sending a letter to every household costing at least £25,000. Due to the complexities of the counting process for STV, the increase in costs to administer the count would also cost approximately £25,000 per additional day.

Whilst there was some support for electoral reform there is a clear consensus amongst members that now is not the right time to explore a change to our voting system.

Given the context of the national financial challenges and considering that only last month we set a budget, we must continue to focus scarce resources on front line services for our most vulnerable citizens instead of finding a budget of at least £25,000 to fund a consultation on voting systems.

Members have also raised concerns about further changes to ward boundaries that were only changed in 2022. It’s worth noting that this proposal could be revisited again in future Council terms, if supported by a majority of elected members.

Cllr Huw David, Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council

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