What is the Second Vote?
In elections to the Senedd (Welsh Parliament) you have two votes:
- To elect your local constituency Member of the Senedd
- To elect your Regional Members of the Senedd
Each constituency returns 1 Member of the Senedd – elected by First Past The Post (aka the candidate who receives the majority of votes).
Each region elects 4 Members from a political party list – elected by the Additional Member System (AMS).
The AMS introduces an element of proportional representation to the election as is calculated through the D’Hondt method. In a nutshell it means that the more constituency seats a party wins, the fewer regional seats that party can win.
So, in the South Wales East Region, which includes the counties of Newport, Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen and Caerphilly, the Labour party has never ever won a regional seat – not one seat since the creation of the National Assembly for Wales back in 1999. (See the grid of regional election results below)
In this area, the regional election is more often or not a battle between Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives, and when you hear people say “don’t waste your second vote” they’re saying that voting Labour on the regional ballot won’t help elect Labour representatives.
No matter how you vote in your local constituency, supporting Plaid Cymru on the Regional Ballot (your second vote) will help elect more Plaid Cymru representatives and help stop the Tories.