image captionLong queues were seen at some polling stations in Cardiff as voting closed at 22:00
Voting has officially closed for the Welsh Parliamentary elections as some people had to queue outside polling stations to cast their vote.
Long queues were seen outside some polling stations in the final hours before the ballot closed at 22:00 BST.
While counting for the poll would normally take place overnight, due to the coronavirus pandemic it will start on Friday morning.
The first result is expected to be declared on Friday afternoon.
Polling stations opened at 07:00 on Thursday for people to vote for the new 60 members of the Senedd to make up the Welsh Parliament – and for the next Police and Crime Commissioners.
For the first time 16 and 17-year-olds had the right to vote in Wales – but only in the Senedd election.
image captionPeople queued in the Leckwith area of Cardiff in the final hours before polling stations closed
image captionPeople in queues for polling stations after the planned closure at 22:00 BST were given cards to ensure they can cast their ballot
With social distancing measures in place – and limited space for people inside polling stations due to strict Covid rules – long queues were seen outside a number of polling stations as the deadline approached.
However, rules mean that anyone who joined a queue to vote before 22:00 will still be able to cast their ballot after they close, and those in line were handed cards to ensure they could vote.
lengthy queue to vote roath, cardiff central. has been for quite some time . spacing obviously a factor but, i wonder….
— Robin Hughes (@Robinhughes66) May 6, 2021
BBC reporters outside polling stations reported queues of more than an hour for people to get inside to cast their votes.
Some took to twitter to say they had tried to vote but with long-queues some said they had no choice but to leave the line due to childcare or having to go to work.
image captionThere was a queue of people to cast their vote earlier in the day in Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan
image captionPeople were seeing queuing around a park in Cardiff to vote as the voting deadline approached
In Cardiff, a long line of people were seen queueing outside Victoria Park polling station, while in Roath people were seen lining the street to cast their ballot.
Writing on twitter, Frank Sanders said he had tried to vote twice, but had been forced to give up both times due to the length of the queues outside Broad Street polling station.
“The queue was too long for me to get back to work this morning and then to get up to work tomorrow. Helpfully eliminating a lot of working voters,” he tweeted.
That’s the first time I’ve seen a large queue outside a polling station in Cardiff 🗳. You wonder if it’s down to Social Distancing or quite possibly this could be the largest turnout in a Senedd Election🤔 #SeneddElections2021 pic.twitter.com/WHZ5p3R5EH
— Luke Davies 📻🏴🎙 (@TheLiveLuke) May 6, 2021
On Friday you can follow comprehensive coverage as the votes for the Senedd election are counted and the results declared across BBC Wales’ online, television and radio services.
The police and crime commissioner (PCC) votes will be counted on Sunday.
SIGN UP FOR WALES ALERTS: Get extra updates on BBC election coverage
image captionWelsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford arrives to vote at St Catherine’s Church Hall in Cardiff on Thursday
After the polls officially closed Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford, who was first minister in the previous Welsh government, thanked 16 and 17 year olds who had “exercised their new right to vote for the first time”.
“In the coming days, the political make-up of the next Senedd will become clear. We await those results,” he said.
How does the Senedd election work?
image captionLeader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, arrives to cast his vote at Llancarfan Village Hall
Voters had cast their ballot to elect 40 Members of the Senedd (MSs) representing local constituencies, and 20 representing five large regions – North Wales, Mid and West Wales, South Wales West, South Wales Central and South Wales East.
The regions elect four MSs each.
Voters had got two ballots – one to back a candidate in their constituency, and one to support a party list of candidates or individual in their region.
In the constituency ballots the candidate with the most votes wins, the same system used at UK general elections.
image captionPlaid Cymru leader Adam Price voted in the village of Pontargothi in Carmarthenshire
But the ballot for the region is decided by a mathematical process in which people are elected more according to their share of the vote.
The system takes into account who has won the constituency seats within that region and gives parties winning fewer or none of those constituencies a better chance of winning regional ones.
The party or combination of parties that can command the greatest support in the Senedd after the election will form the next Welsh government.
image captionWelsh Liberal Democrats’ leader Jane Dodds cast her ballot at Hay-on-Wye Bowling Club
And the PCC poll?
In police and crime commissioner elections you can vote for a first and second choice candidate.
If no candidate gets more than 50% of the first choice votes, all except the top two candidates are eliminated.
If your first choice candidate is eliminated, and your second choice is for one of the top two, your second choice is counted.
What other votes happened on Thursday?
Elections were also held on Thursday for the Scottish Parliament, and London’s mayor and assembly.
In England, PCC elections took place and voters went to the polls to elect local councils and directly elected mayors. There was also a by-election to choose a new MP at Westminster for Hartlepool.