Voting in Powys could be transformed in time for the next council elections, with a form of proportional representation on the table.

Councillors have delayed until December a discussion on the merits of the single transferable vote (STV) system.

There is a deadline of November 15, 2024, for everything to be in place if the next election is to be held under STV.

What is the Single Transferable Vote system?

STV is a form of proportional representation which is already in use in several countries including Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Malta, Scotland, Estonia, and Australia for some of their elections.

If it does come into force for the 2027 local election, the council ward system in Powys would also need to be changed.

Powys would continue to have 68 county councillors, but the wards would be changed from the current 52 single and eight multi member wards to all multi member wards.

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The number of multi member wards could vary from 12 to 23.

And this means the number of councillors elected in the new multi-member wards would range from three to a maximum of six.

For example, voters who live in a ward that elects three councillors would be expected to rank their three preferred options, with the top three candidates overall then elected.

What needs to happen for it to come into Powys?

The Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 allows local authorities in Wales to choose to adopt STV as the type of electoral system to be used after 2027 instead of the current first past the post system.

If on December 7 the council does support STV a period of consultation will need to take place.

The findings of the consultation would need to be sifted through and then debated again by councillors.

The law also stipulates that a vote with a two thirds majority is needed at a special council meeting in favour of the changes.

This threshold potentially would be 45 of 68 Powys councillors need to vote in  favour of STV.

All this needs to be done by November 15, 2024.

All this would be looked at by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales and their recommendations on the alterations would need to be approved by the Welsh Government.

If implemented it would be in place for at least two elections.