Give Prisoners The Vote

At present, prisoners serving prison terms of three years or more (including life imprisonment and indefinite detention) are disqualified from voting. This is an affront to democracy. Prisoners still have a stake in our society – more of a stake in some ways than those of us on the outside, given that they are directly subject to the coercive power of the state – and so deserve the vote.

Relevant law
s80(1)(d) of the Electoral Act 1993 disqualifies prisoners serving terms of three years or more from voting. Section 80(1)(c) disqualifies those deemed criminally insane, or those requiring treatment while serving prison sentences. s81 requires prison managers to inform the Chief Registrar of Electors of any such prisoner so they can be disqualified.

Potential changes
Repeal s80(1)(c) and (d), and s81.

Problems

  • There is unlikely to be a majority for this when both parties are trying to sell themselves as "tough on crime".

Electoral (Prisoners' voting rights) Amendment Bill

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