2017 elections in Wales well run, but further modernisation required

Facts and figures

The Electoral Commission has today published its report on the administration of the 2017 local elections which concluded that the elections were well run, with few problems.

Our public opinion research carried out after the elections shows that 81% of respondents were confident that that the polls held on 4 May were well run, up from 77% in 2012. 95% of people thought that the ballot paper was easy to complete, 96% of polling station voters were satisfied with the process of voting at a polling stations and 100% of postal voters said they were satisfied with their experience.

Elan Closs Stephens, Electoral Commissioner, Wales said:

We are pleased to report that the local elections in Wales were well-run and would like to thank all those involved in the planning and management of these elections. Our research shows that voters have a high level of confidence in the process and that the vast majority had a positive experience when casting their vote, and this reflects the hard work of all those involved.

We are now proposing to work with the UK and Welsh governments to consider ways to improve and modernise electoral registration and administration to further improve the experience for voters.

The Commission’s report found that the council elections were well run, but that further improvements could be made to support voter participation and confidence in the process. These include:

  • Developing the Wales Electoral Coordination Board, which was formally established at the beginning of 2017 and led by senior Returning Officers in Wales, to become a point of expertise for electoral management in Wales
  • Looking at ways to incorporate more automatic checks to improve the electoral registration system
  • Establishing a process to collect and publish turnout data at the 2022 local government elections
  • Modernising and streamlining electoral law, in line with the UK Law Commissions’ recommendations

The report’s key findings include:

  • 2.28 million people were registered to vote in the May 2017 local elections in Wales, a small decrease from the previous local government elections in 2012 and 2013.
  • A total of 895,943 votes were cast, representing a turnout of 42.0% of the eligible electorate, a slight increase in turnout compared with the elections in 2012 and 2013.
  • 81% of people said they were confident that the polls were well run, up from 77% at the 2012 council elections.
  • 89% of people were satisfied with the electoral registration system, up from 84% in 2012.

Today’s report is available on the Commission’s website here.


For more information contact Laura Ward:

Extra notes

Notes to editors

  • The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:
    • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
    • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
    • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency