Thursday 19 December 2013

Prisoner voting - Joint Committee report and also Scottish Independence Referendum

Prisoner Voting - Draft Bill:

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Draft Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill has reported – (PDF/HTML/conclusions).  The report recommends:

...  that the Government bring forward a Bill, at the start of the 2014 -15 session of Parliament, to give legislative effect to the following conclusions:

  • That all prisoners serving sentences of 12 months or less should be entitled to vote in all UK parliamentary, local and European elections;
  • That such prisoners should be registered to vote in the constituency where they were registered prior to sentencing; and that, where there is no identified prior residence, they should be able to register by means of a declaration of local connection;
  • That prisoners should be entitled to apply, 6 months before their scheduled release date, to be registered to vote in the constituency into which they are due to be released.
The report is further discussed on the UK Human Rights blog  - Joint Parliamentary Committee Report.

Previous post 7th November 2013.

Voting in the Scottish Independence Referendum:

In September 2014, Scotland is to hold a referendum on the question of independence.  In Petition of Moohan, Gibson and Gillon [2013] CSOH 199 - the Court of Session (Outer House) has rejected a judicial review of the Scottish Independence (Referendum) Act 2013 (an Act of the Scottish Parliament).  The petition was for a judicial review of sections 2 and 3 of the Act where eligibility to vote in the referendum is set out.

Lord Glennie noted:  This opinion, covering the arguments raised in three petitions, is concerned with the right to vote in that independence referendum. In particular, it concerns the right of convicted prisoners to vote. This is presently excluded by a blanket ban on prisoners voting. This was enacted by the Scottish Parliament. The question before the court is as to the legality of that blanket ban.

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