SIXTEEN and 17-year-olds will be able to vote in the next Welsh Assembly Election in 2021.

AMs voted through the change on Wednesday, November 27.

More than two-thirds (41) of Wales' 60 AMs voted in favour of allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in Senedd elections, and the other 19 AMs voted against the proposal. Nobody abstained.

The new voting age is one of several key changes ushered in by the new bill.

Presiding officer Elin Jones said the change was "long overdue".

"This bill, in my view, will create a more inclusive, diverse and effective Senedd, and will strengthen our democracy for the 21st century - one that will give our legislature a name which is a true reflection of its constitutional status and improves public understanding of the Senedd’s responsibilities. And one that will bring new energy to our democratic process."

County Times: How AMs voted on changing the voting age in Welsh elections to 16. Picture: Assembly Wales/TwitterHow AMs voted on changing the voting age in Welsh elections to 16. Picture: Assembly Wales/Twitter

Other changes introduced by the new bill include an official bilingual name for the Assembly building – the Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament; as well as giving the vote to eligible foreign nationals, changing the law to allow more people to stand for election, and making the the Electoral Commission funded by and accountable to the Assembly for future Welsh elections.

The Senedd and Elections Bill is based on the recommendations made in an independent report by the Assembly's Expert Reform Panel.

The panel's chairwoman, Professor Laura McAllister, called the lowered voting age "a monumental step forward on a historic day for Wales’ democratic process".

But not all AMs were so welcoming of the change.

Andrew RT Davies, South Wales Central AM and former leader of the Welsh Conservatives, called the change a "stitch-up job" and a "blatant attempt to fix the voting system".

"This has been done with without any evidence or scrutiny behind it and drives a coach and horses through our ‘constitution’ here in Wales, without permission from the Welsh public and forcing further ridicule on the Assembly," Mr Davies said.

“Combined with votes at 16 and the little-to-no political education that currently exists for students in this country, we are now left with an ridiculous electorate system, with Labour and Plaid Cymru clearly determined to drive a wedge between the Assembly and the people it purports to represent.”

The new legislation will be implemented, following royal assent, in January 2020.