B857 - Representation of the People (Prisoners) Bill 2015 (Second Reading) Watch

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Birchington
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B857 - Representation of the People (Prisoners) Bill 2015 (Second Reading), TSR Labour Party


Representation of the People (Prisoners) Bill 2015
An act to extend the right of enfranchisement to prisoners and convicts and to establish the proper procedure thereof.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most excellent Majesty, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

SECTION 1: INTERPRETATION
1. "Prisoner" is defined as a person who has been accused of a crime and is detained in custody whilst awaiting their trial in a Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court.
2. “Convict” is defined as a person who has been convicted of a criminal offence by a Bench made up of a Magistrate(s) (Justices of the Peace or a District Judge), Crown Court judge (Recorder or Circuit Judge or High Court Judge), or a Crown Court Jury.
3. For the purposes of this bill the use of the words “prisoner” and “convict” shall be interchangeable.
4. “Elections” is defined as any election to Westminster Parliament; European Parliament; Local Councils and all referendums which they would be entitled to vote in, should they not be in custody.
a. Prisoners may also vote in elections to devolved institutions, should their residence be in the country for which the election is taking place.
5. “Property” is defined as a building or object in which a person resides.
a. This includes rented accommodation as well as bought homes.
b. This may also be post office (PO) box.
6. “Local Council” is defined as an election to any of the following (individually or a mixture of) within the United Kingdom: county/borough/community/parish.
7. "Civic Death" is hereby defined as a legal status for an individual whereby they are ineligible of being elected, or sitting, or voting as a member of either House of Parliament, or of exercising any right of suffrage or other parliamentary or municipal franchise whatever within the United Kingdom.
8. For the purposes of this bill "prisoner" and "convict" do not refer to those sentenced to Civic Death or those below the legal voting age.

SECTION 2: REPEAL AND CIVIC DEATH
1. The Forfeiture Act 1870 is hereby repealed.
2. For the following crimes one may be sentenced to Civic Death as additional punishment:
i. High Treason
ii. Felony Treason
iii. Murder
3. The legal status of Civic Death can only apply to an individual whilst they are serving a prison sentence.

SECTION 3: REGISTRATION
1. During the period of time that a prisoner is being processed, the officer taking their details must also ask if they wish to be registered on the electoral register.
a. If a prisoner does wish to register on the electoral register, the processing officer will be required to fill out an electronic version of the voter registration form, with the answers from the prisoner.
i. A copy of which will be saved for any future elections the prisoner wishes to vote in.
b. If a prisoner does not wish to register on the electoral register at that time, this must be registered on the system.
i. For each election thereafter, a prison officer is hereby bound to formally invite the prisoner to register on the electoral register.
2. A prisoner may request to be registered on the electoral register at any time that they are on the prison premises, after being processed.
3. Once a prisoner is registered on the electoral register, they will be registered to vote in every election thereafter, by default.
4. Prisoners shall be registered to vote at the address at which they usually reside. Not the address of the prison.
a. Prisoners will only be able to register at one address.
i. This will be the same home address that is on the court database.
ii. The final decision as to who is eligible to register at an address rests with the electoral registration officer for that area.
b. Where the prisoner was residing in said address illegally under the Residing Act 2015 (V847) and other relevant legislation they will be able to register on the electoral register at this address at the discretion of the electoral registration officer for that area.
i. In this case and where discrepancies arise between the prisoner’s residence and the address on the court database, advice will be given on a case-by-case basis as to which address to be registered at.

SECTION 4: VOTING
1. Each prisoner that is registered to vote shall vote in the election by means of a postal vote.
2. This voting process shall follow the process outlined by the Electoral Commission.
3. For every category of prison, a private room shall be provided for the prisoner to be able to vote in complete privacy.
a. For convicts in lower security prisons, where shared cells are used, a spare cell/room should be used.
i. If this is not possible, it is up to the prison governor to allocate a segregated room to be used.
b. For convicts in higher security prisons, where there is a single convict to a cell, this would be their cell.

SECTION 5: WESTMINSTER PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS
1. Any prisoner with an address in the United Kingdom that appears on the electoral register shall be able to vote in elections to the Westminster Parliament.
2. In the event of a by-election, only prisoners whose address on the electoral register is within the constituency for which a by-election is taking place may vote.
3. They shall vote by the means outlined in Section 4: Voting.

SECTION 6: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FOR WALES ELECTIONS
1. Any prisoner whose address on the electoral register is in Wales shall be able to vote in elections to the National Assembly for Wales.
2. In the event of a by-election, only prisoners whose address on the electoral register is within the constituency for which a by-election is taking place may vote.
3. They shall vote by the means outlined in Section 4: Voting.

SECTION 7: SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS
1. Any prisoner whose address on the electoral register is in Scotland or on the Scottish Islands shall be able to vote in elections to the Scottish Parliament.
2. In the event of a by-election, only prisoners whose address on the electoral register is within the constituency for which a by-election is taking place may vote.
3. They shall vote by the means outlined in Section 4: Voting.

SECTION 8: NORTHERN IRELAND ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
1. Any prisoner whose address on the electoral register is in Northern Ireland shall be able to vote in elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
2. In the event of a by-election, only prisoners whose address on the electoral register is within the constituency for which a by-election is taking place may vote.
3. They shall vote by the means outlined in Section 4: Voting.

SECTION 9: GREATER LONDON ASSEMBLY/MAYOR OF LONDON ELECTIONS
1. Any prisoner whose address on the electoral register within the City of London and/or Greater London shall be able to vote in elections to the Greater London Assembly.
2. Such prisoners shall also be eligible to vote for the Mayor of London during Mayoral elections.
3. In the event of a by-election, only prisoners whose address on the electoral register is within the constituency for which a by-election is taking place may vote.
4. They shall vote by the means outlined in Section 4: Voting.

SECTION 10: LOCAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS
1. Any prisoner with an address in the United Kingdom that appears on the electoral register shall be able to vote in elections to the local council in which their property is situated.
2. In the event of a by-election, only prisoners whose address on the electoral register is within the constituency for which a by-election is taking place may vote.
3. They shall vote by the means outlined in Section 4: Voting.

SECTION 11: EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS
1. Any prisoner with an address in the United Kingdom that appears on the electoral register shall be eligible to vote in European Parliament elections for representatives for the region in which their property is in.
2. In the event of a by-election, only prisoners whose address on the electoral register is within the constituency for which a by-election is taking place, may vote.
3. They shall vote by the means outlined in Section 4: Voting.

SECTION 12: RENTED HOUSING
1. Any prisoner who rents a property, for which the property's contract will expire during their term in custody, shall use the address of the property which they rented, whether the contract has expired or not.
2. Once the prisoner is released, they may no longer use the rented property's address.

SECTION 13: COMMENCEMENT, SHORT TITLE AND EXTENT
1. This Act may be cited as the Representation of the People Act 2015.
2. This Act shall extend to Great Britain and Northern Ireland; and
3. Shall come into force immediately.



NotesThe European Court of Human Rights has once again ruled against the UK's total removal of prisoners from suffrage. This bill legislates to rectify this by expanding suffrage to prisoners whilst maintaining the ability of the judiciary to remove a criminals voting rights in cases of extreme misconduct as is the case in France and Germany.

House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee:

Basic principles for electoral democracy are set out in international law. These include the right of citizens to vote. The European Convention on Human Rights, Protocol 1, Article 3 states:

"The parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature."

This guarantee is now contained within the Human Rights Act (2000). It does not make exclusions for sentenced prisoners. Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides every citizen with the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, to vote in elections which have universal suffrage and to have equal access to public service.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Vict/33-34/23
http://www.publications.parliament.u.../776/776vw.pdf
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31356895


Changes made for 2nd Reading1. Minor changes of wording and formatting.
2. Removal of definition for 'Own(s)' as it no longer features in the body of the bill.
2. Implications of the Residing Act 2015 considered and procedure outlined.
3. All possibly ambiguity around how many votes a prisoner is entitled to has been removed.
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Saracen's Fez
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Aye.
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username456717
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An Aye from me. Prisoners are humans too.
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Life_peer
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Still basically just murder which means a no from me.
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James Milibanter
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An Aye from myself
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Jammy Duel
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And given that the reasoning here seems to be due to human rights, why place any restriction? Why not also remove the restrictions on the Lords and those who have been in the last 5 years been found guilty of corruption or illegal practises in connection with an election?
What about ask the under 18s, after all, babies are humans too?

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JoeL1994
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Still an abstain until Rape is added to civic death.

Edit: Would like civic death to be compulsory too.
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TheDefiniteArticle
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Would be happy about the definition of 'Civic Death' being expanded but I don't think it really matters that much, considering it should be extremely rare in any case.

Either way, very clear aye, love this Bill.
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Andy98
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Aye

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localblackguy
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Aye
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TheDefiniteArticle
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
And given that the reasoning here seems to be due to human rights, why place any restriction? Why not also remove the restrictions on the Lords and those who have been in the last 5 years been found guilty of corruption or illegal practises in connection with an election?
What about ask the under 18s, after all, babies are humans too?

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There are rationally connected reasons beyond 'BLUH CRIMINALS BLUUUUUUUUUH' for the cases you mentioned.
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Wellzi
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Nope.
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PetrosAC
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(Original post by JoeL1994)
Still an abstain until Rape is added to civic death.

Edit: Would like civic death to be compulsory too.
Completely agree

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RayApparently
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Aye.
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thehistorybore
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Nay.
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by JoeL1994)
Still an abstain until Rape is added to civic death.

Edit: Would like civic death to be compulsory too.
No it wouldn't.
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JoeL1994
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
No it wouldn't.
Sorry, what?
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by JoeL1994)
Sorry, what?
Civic death wouldn't be compulsory, not by my reading of the bill or knowledge of the intentions of the author.
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JoeL1994
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
Civic death wouldn't be compulsory, not by my reading of the bill or knowledge of the intentions of the author.
Would it be a possibility for a third reading? I'm cautious of politicians reducing prison sentences to win the votes of those that commit the most horrible crimes.
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by JoeL1994)
Would it be a possibility for a third reading? I'm cautious of politicians reducing prison sentences to win the votes of those that commit the most horrible crimes.
I really doubt that reducing prison sentences would be a likely vote-winner, given the size of the prison electorate, in particular in comparison with the Daily Mail-reading electorate.

I believe that civic death should remain only an option, to be handed out by a judge on the specifics of each individual case.
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