Wales is on the verge of history as voters go to the polls

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Staff reporter

A VETERAN of two previous campaigns for a National Assembly in Wales says he is looking forward to a ‘yes’ vote tomorrow.

Wrexham-based solicitor Tudor Williams, 70, campaigned for devolution for Wales in the unsuccessful campaign in 1979 and in the 1998 election which saw the creation of the Assembly in Cardiff.

Mr Williams, who has run his law firm on Chester Street since 1983, described the 1979 campaign as a ‘bad memory’.

He said: “We lost. It was a Labour government proposal to have an Assembly in Wales.

“There was a majority against the proposals. It had to be a majority of the voters – we needed 60 per cent, which was an extra threshold to reach.”

Mr Williams, who stood unsuccessfully as a Labour candidate for the Anglesey constituency in the 1983 General Election, said he supported the ‘yes’ vote over concerns about the Assembly’s need apply to Westminster for consent to pass laws.

He said: “Ann Jones AM was calling for a Legislative Competence Order on fire safety in April 2008. It is still waiting for approval – and this is an area with definite health and safety consequences.”

Although Mr Williams sees the 1998 election as a ‘threshold’ in the process of devolution, he feels this poll has vital importance for the future of Wales.

He said: “In 1998 I was on the list for a seat but I was not successful.

“The victory was by a very narrow majority but, like Winston Churchill said, you only need to win by one vote.

“A ‘yes’ vote will be good for Wales. It will give us powers like Northern Ireland and Scotland.”

Mr Williams added: “There has not been as much information during this campaign, which is regrettable.

“But it is more of a technical question – a constitutional measure.

“I will be delighted if the campaign was successful.

“I think people’s views have changed. There is an acceptance of the Assembly – it has become part of the democratic process.”

How to vote

Every household in Wales has received a booklet explaining the process and the Electoral Commission website also presents the arguments for and against.

Kay Jenkins, head of the Electoral Commission's Wales office, said: “All you need to take to the polling station is yourself.

“If you have your polling card then take that along as it will speed things up, but you can vote without it.

“You’ll be asked your name and issued with a ballot paper. If you have any questions about how to fill out your ballot, ask one of the staff in the polling station.

“If voting by post, you’ll need to make sure that your ballot papers are returned by 10pm.

“Anyone who has forgotten to post their papers can still deliver them by hand to their polling station or town hall.”

Polling booths have been designed for wheelchair users and contain large print ballot papers and tactile voting templates.

Voters with disabilities can also take a companion to assist them, or ask the presiding officer at the polling station for assistance.

Polls are open tomorrow from 7am-10pm and only people who have been issued with a ballot paper by 10pm will be able to cast their vote.

Find your nearest polling station by checking your polling card or calling your local council.

See www.aboutmyvote.co.uk for more information.

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