Speaking at the event, the Minister encouraged all people to register to vote ahead of the three polls this year. He said,
“Thanks to modern technologies we have never had so many ways to communicate with the people of Wales and encourage them to register and exercise their vote.
“We live in a society where the people decide who they want in power and, unusually, also in 2011 to decide for themselves on issues of democracy.
“Every voter is equal in that process – there are no extra votes for the wealthy, the educated, or the able-bodied. Let’s make sure that everyone knows how to register and is able to vote. We have a feast of opportunity over the next year and a half; let’s make the most of it.”
The Minister also spoke of the importance of removing barriers that may prevent disabled people from voting. He said,
“Last year I wrote to all local authorities in Wales, asking them to review their polling stations to ensure that they are accessible to all.
“We have had plenty of time to prepare and make sure that those people who have difficulty in voting, through disability, infirmity or some other form of disadvantage, are able to vote if they want to. Last Friday was the International day of disabled people and I hope that I do not hear of anyone unable to vote because of their disability.”
The National Assembly’s Presiding Officer, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM added,
“2011 is a very important year for us all here in Wales. Not only will we be asked to choose who represents us in the Senedd, but also whether those elected representatives should have more powers to make Welsh laws.
“The importance of democratic participation is as important as ever and we want to make sure everyone in Wales has the opportunity to have their say.
“Today’s event will look at barriers to participation and ways to encourage as many people as possible to get involved in shaping the future of devolution in our country.”