Election processes - How would you vote if the government decided to introduce a Bill to allow convicted prisoners to vote?

Under the ECHR ruling each country can decide which offences should carry restrictions to voting rights. Here are some of the possible options.

Election Processes

How would you vote if the government decided to introduce a Bill to allow convicted prisoners to vote?  

 

'Taking part'

In June the Council of Europe, an inter-governmental organisation that oversees and enforces rulings made by the   ECHR, urged the coalition to act. Under the ECHR ruling each country can decide which offences should carry restrictions to voting rights.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the ban could be retained for murderers and others serving life sentences, and judges may be given responsibility for deciding which criminals should be allowed to vote when sentencing.

The newspaper also reports that one plan is to allow inmates a vote, based on their most recent postal address, in order to stop an entire prison population coming under a single constituency.

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, told the BBC: "People go to prison to lose their liberty, but they don't go for other punishments, and very many prison governors believe it [voting] is an important part of resettlement, it's a part of taking part in society.

"Prison is about rehabilitation as well as about punishment."

But David Green, director of the think tank Civitas, said the government had been forced into this decision by the ECHR and he said: 'It is another example of judges acting as if they were politicians.  It is judicial empire-building.

"The government should make only the smallest possible concession - perhaps by giving the vote to prisoners sentenced to six months or less.  The ban should remain for all the others.

"If it leads to further legal action, so be it.  In the longer term, Parliament should pass a law making the decisions of the British Parliament superior to any rulings of the European Court."

Frances Crook, director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, welcomed the decision, saying: "One of the hallmarks of citizenship is the right to vote.  At the same time, voting is both a right and a responsibility.

"If we want prisoners to return safely to the community, feeling they have a stake in society, then the right to vote is a good means of engaging individuals with the responsibilities of citizenship."

Having listened to some of the arguments students may like to participate in a ‘referendum’ to help the government decide the issue. A form of voting slip can be found below.

...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

 

Voting  

You can vote for one of the following options


Option Place a ‘X’ in one of the boxes below

Keep the blanket ban on convicted prisoners voting

 

 

 

Retain the ban for murderers and others serving life sentences but allow all others to vote

 

 

 

Give the responsibility to judges for deciding which criminals should be allowed to vote when sentencing

 

 

 

Give the vote to prisoners sentenced to six months or less. The ban should remain for all the others.

 

 

 

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