Local Government Elections in Wales: Can You Take The Kids To Vote?


Parenting & Family Advice | by | 3rd May 2017

On Thursday 4th May, local council elections will take place across Wales.

Unfortunately if you didn’t register to vote before Thursday 13th April 2017 you cannot take part in these elections, however you still have time to register in time for June’s General Election. Register by Monday 22nd May 2017 to vote in the General Election on Thursday 8th June 2017. You don’t need to register again if you’ve already registered.

With that out of the way, we’re going to look at rules in the polling station, with a particular focus on children and families. Can you take the kids? Can they put the cross in the box? All the answers you need are below!

Rules of the polling station

Toy horse tethered for Welsh Assembly Elections article
Photo Credit: cafemama via Compfight cc

The staff at polling stations are there to ensure a fair vote, not to tell you off and most are friendly and welcoming. There are some rules though…

Children

Election day staff are under instruction to be welcoming to children and young people. They may enter the polling station and if you have a lot of children with you, staff there can oversee them when you enter the voting booth. Your son or daughter is not allowed to draw the cross on your ballot paper for you, this is something you have to do.

Animals

You can take your dog in to a polling station, as long as they do not disrupt other people. You will have to leave the horse outside though. There’s no official guidance on cats, rabbits or goldfish.

Help

If you need any advice, just ask the staff at the polling station. They are there to help you and will be happy to do so.

If you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to fill in your ballot, you can ask for help and the Presiding Officer can mark the ballot paper for you. You can also ask someone, such as a support worker or relative to help you – as long as they are either a relative or an eligible elector and have not already helped more than one other person vote.

If you have a visual impairment, you can ask to see a large print ballot paper or you can ask for a special voting device that allows you to vote on your own in secret.

How should I vote?

That is entirely up to you. Local council elections often receive less coverage than national elections and referendums, so keep an eye out for leaflets and your local press and bloggers. There may also be hustings or events where you can meet candidates.


FamilyPoint Helpline

If there are any other problems your family is having, then call our advisors on the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline. The helpline is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. They can help you to find organisations that can help.

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