The United Nations human rights commission expressed concern that British prisoners do not have the right to vote and stated that “the general deprivation of the right to vote for convicted prisoners may not meet the requirements” of the UN’s human rights covenant. Prisoners in UK jails are not allowed to vote based on the Forfeiture Act of 1870. Many European nations such as Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands grant prisoners the right to use the ballot. Britain is only one of nine European nations, including Russia and Bulgaria, whee all convicted prisoners are banned from voting.
Juliet LYon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, argues “the right to vote poses no risk to public safety. Giving prisoners the vote would encourage them to take the responsibilities that come with citizenship.” The European court of human rights in 2004 said a blanket ban was in violation of the European convention on human rights. The British government response has centered mainly on the issue that once a person commits a crime that results in jail time the individual is displaying behavior not in accord with proper citizenship.
One can only wonder if businessmen who manipulate stock markets will wind up in prison and lose their voting rights.