The Welsh Parliament elects its members through a two ballot voting system.
The first ballot, known as the Constituency Ballot, elects 40 members by the First Past the Post electoral system. This means the candidate with the most votes in each constituency wins the seat, this isn't a very democratic way of electing a member, which is why we have the second ballot.
The second ballot is the regional ballot, where 20 members are elected across the five electoral regions through the Aditional Member System. Instead of voting for candidates, you vote for a political party. The votes are then put through a mathematical formula to work out which parties get any seats.
WHY TWO BALLOTS?
The second ballot is used to make the representatives within the Senedd more representative of the electorate.
This chart shows the vote percentage for the parties who stood in South Wales East region.
This chart shows that if South Wales East only had its constituency members, 87.5% of the seats
This chart shows the seats won in the region including the constituency seats.
As you can see above, the second ballot allows for a more proportional Senedd ensuring more peoples political views are represented during the law-making process.
HOW ARE REGIONAL SEATS CALCULATED?
The number of votes from the regional ballot are counted up and divided by the number of seats each party won in that region (including constituencies), plus one. So the equation looks like this:
Regional Votes ÷ (Seats Won + 1) = X
The Party with the biggest value of X wins a regional seat.
This is how it looked in the South Wales East Region in 2016:
Labour won 74,424 regional votes and won 7 constituency seats in this region.
74,424 ÷ (7+1) = 9,303
The Conservatives won 33,318 regional votes and won 1 constituency seat in this region.
33,318 ÷ (1+1) = 16,659
Party A gets 29,686 regional votes and won no constituency seats in this region.
29,686 ÷ (0+1) = 29,686
UKIP won 34,524 regional votes and won no constituency seats in this region.
34,524 ÷ (0+1) = 34,524
UKIP won the biggest X value from the first round so they won the first regional seat.
The process is repeated until all four of the Regional Senedd Members are chosen. This is what the final results looked like in South Wales East
Labour won 7 constituency seats and no regional seats.
Conservatives won 1 constituency seat and 1 regional seat.
UKIP won 2 regional seats.
Plaid Cymru won 1 regional seat.
THE WELSH LABOUR TRAP.
Each election, Welsh Labour push for their supporters to vote for them on both the constituency and regional ballots.
In the 2016 Senedd election, 319,196 voters voted for Labour on the regional ballots, but due to how many Constituency seats they win nationwide, they only won an additional 2 members through the second ballot, so unless you live in Mid and West Wales, your Labour vote was not only wasted, but helped degressive parties such as the Conservatives and the far right UKIP win seats.
If the Labour voters voted for other progressive parties such as The Green Party, Plaid Cymru and others we could have had a more proportional parliament.