Residents in Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly will be able to vote before polling day in May’s local government elections.

The Welsh Government has set out plans to increase voter turnout and announced details of four flexible voting pilot schemes being taken forward.

Council offices in Torfaen and Caerphilly will be used as advanced polling stations on the Saturday and Sunday before election day on Thursday, May 5.

Meanwhile Coleg Gwent’s Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone in Ebbw Vale will be used as an early polling station in the week leading to election day, with all students there able to cast their votes.

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The early polling stations will also be available for all residents, no matter which electoral ward they live in.

Stephen Vickers, chief executive officer at Torfaen council, said: “We want the local government and community council elections in May 2022 to be as accessible as possible and ensure that everyone who wants to vote, can vote, which is why we put our hand up to be a pilot for flexible voting.

“This option may be particularly welcomed by anyone not registered for an absent vote and who may otherwise struggle to visit their polling station on election day.”

Guy Lacey, principal at Coleg Gwent, said the chance for 16-year-olds to vote is “a fantastic opportunity to have their voices heard in matters that impact on young people beyond college”.

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“We’re happy to support Welsh Government in making this as easy and convenient as possible for our learners and hope to see this pilot having a positive impact on voter turnout in this age group,” Mr Lacey said.

Michelle Morris, managing director at Blaenau Gwent council, added: “We are delighted that our proposal for Ebbw Vale to be one of the flexible voting pilot areas has been successful.

“It is important that people use their vote and take part in elections and this initiative certainly helps this.”

The fourth scheme will be held in Bridgend, where a new polling station will be created in a school to allow eligible pupils to vote in advance.

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