The Welsh Government has announced plans to allow 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in Wales.

Under the proposals, 16 and 17 year olds would be given the right to vote in council elections, along with all foreign nationals legally resident in Wales, which the Government believes will open up the democratic process to increased numbers of people. The legal age for voting in UK General Elections would remain at age 18, but if approved the plans would bring Wales in line with Scotland in allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote in local elections, leading to some calls for a review from the Westminster Government.

Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services, Alun Davies, said the reforms were designed to include people who had become 'disengaged' from the political process.

"Local democracy is all about participation. We want to boost the numbers registered as electors, make it easier for people to cast their votes, and give more people the right to take part," he said.

"I am concerned we are still seeing far too many people, particularly young people, disengaged from the political process. There are many reasons for this but we must do more to make the process more attractive, welcoming and transparent. The proposals we’re announcing this week will, we hope, help increase participation and improve the democratic process for everyone in Wales.

The wide ranging electoral reforms also include proposals to improve the voting process itself, which could include remote digital voting, mobile polling stations and voting at places like supermarkets, local libraries, leisure centres and railway stations. The government also wants candidates to provide online cost statements outlining how they would pay for their policies.

"I would like to see authorities in Wales take the lead and pilot a number of innovative voting methods, something put on hold at the UK level since the mid-2000s. I want to see whether, for example electronic voting or counting, voting on more than one day and in places other than traditional polling stations, could boost participation rates and improve the overall experience for Welsh voters," he added.

Jessica Blair, Director of the Electoral Reform Society Cymru said: "We are delighted to see the Welsh Government bringing forward these innovative ideas to modernise our democracy. It is an opportunity for Wales to lead the way in creating a political system that works for everybody and it is particularly pertinent as we recognise the centenary of the first women getting the vote.

A Welsh Government consultation on reforming the electoral system in Wales received almost 1000 responses when it was launched last year.