current move to extend the franchise

Prisoners and the right to vote

Traditionally in the UK, criminals have lost the franchise and been denied the right to vote when they are incarcerated. With the loss of the right to vote, prisoners can no longer participate as full members of society and, in effect, lose part of their citizenship.

A campaign has attempted to have the franchise extended to at least some prisoners. This was begun by the legal challenges of John Hirstand, following the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Hirst v UK (2005), which declared that the blanket ban on all prisoners was a violation of their human rights, other groups, including the Howard League for Penal Reform, the Prison Reform Trust and Amnesty International, have campaigned to put pressure on the government to recognise its legal obligations and give at least some prisoners the right to vote.

Prison voting rights in the USA Prison, or felon, voting rights in the USA have become a major issue in recent years. Some states, like Maine, allow all prisoners to vote. In other states, people may vote while released on parole, while others must wait for their sentence to finish. However, in ten states, including Florida, felons lose the right to vote for ever. In 2019 this ban was ended in Florida by a state referendum however, the Republican legislature imposed a rule that all ex-offenders must settle all outstanding fines before they could register to vote. This was seen as a form of voter suppression and the billionaire Michael Bloomberg paid all the fines. As a disproportionately high percentage of prisoners are African-American and Hispanic, this has been seen as a means of denying the vote to these minority groups, who tend to support the Democrat Party. The issue has therefore become political, rather than moral.