§ Lord Avebury
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Which categories of prisoner have the right to vote in elections, and what arrangements are made to enable them to do so.
The Earl of Caithness
Only unconvicted prisoners, including those committed for contempt of court and those serving a term of imprisonment for default in paying a fine, may vote. They must be at least 18 years old and registered as electors. A penal establishment cannot be used as an address for registration purposes. Under Section 7 of the Representation of the People Act 1985, such prisoners can apply to vote by post or proxy at any election held on or after 16th February 1987, on the grounds that they cannot reasonably be expected to vote in person at their allotted polling station. In accordance with past practice, instructions will be issued to all prison service establishments explaining which categories of prisoner are entitled to vote and how they may do so.