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UK government explores granting vote to prisoners

[JURIST] The UK government said Thursday that it will hold a full public consultation [press release] on whether prisoners should be granted the right to vote. The decision comes in response to a European Court of Human Rights [official website] ruling [text; JURIST report] last year that the British ban on voting for prisoners violates the right to free elections protected by the European Convention on Human Rights [PDF text]. Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer [official profile], Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs said that a public consultation on the issue would be the best way to examine the "difficult and complex issues" raised by giving prisoners the right to vote. Under a pilot program, a small number of prisoners were allowed to vote in last year's general election, but there is opposition to extending voting rights for all prisoners. The shadow constitutional affairs secretary, Oliver Heald, said Thursday that a jail sentence inherently involves a loss of certain citizenship rights [press release; EUPolitix.com report], including the right to vote. Politics.co.uk has more.

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