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Extending the Vote

Vote for Prisoners

Prisoners are banned from voting in Great Britain on the basis that by being convicted of a crime that carries a prison sentence they have forfeited the right to participate in society; which includes voting. There have been recent challenges to this with the European Court of Human Rights declaring in 2005 that a blanket ban for prisoners is not proportionate. 

The UK government is now at odds with European law as they want to uphold the ban. This is part of an ongoing legal process although the government has published a multiple-choice bill with three options – one of which proposes retaining the ban and going against the European ruling. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has repeatedly said he is opposed to granting prisoners the right to vote.

The Conservative Party is due to publish its proposals for renegotiating Britain’s relationship with the European Court of Human Rights.  This is part of its pledge to hold an in/out referendum with the British public in 2017; should they win the next election. 

Lowering the Voting Age to Sixteen and Seventeen Year Olds

A policy that has been debated many times; Ed Miliband Leader of the Opposition and the Labour Party announced at their 2013 Party Conference in Brighton that he was in favour of such a move. The current voting age is from eighteen years-old.

Paving the way, 16 and 17 year olds were able to vote in the referendum on Scottish Independence held in September 2014. There are no plans to extend this to votes in the General Election in 2015 or as yet the European Referendum proposed by the Conservative Party.

Find out more about the Scottish Independence Referendum.

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