Prisoners right to vote

18Apr

The State Liberals will introduce legislation to remove the right of people sentenced for three or more years in prison to vote in South Australian elections until they have completed their sentence.

“When a person commits a crime so serious that he or she is sentenced for three or more years, then one of the many rights that should be taken away is the right to vote in elections,” said Shadow Minister for Correctional Services Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

“I believe someone who commits an offence so serious that they are incarcerated for a substantial period of time should also surrender the right to participate in the election of lawmakers.

“Prisoners sentenced for three or more years are already prevented from voting in Federal elections and it should be the same for South Australian elections.

“In fact South Australia is the only state that does not have a restriction on convicted criminals voting in state elections and it is time we catch up.

Table 1: LENGTH OF SENTENCE THAT DISQUALIFIES PRISONERS FROM VOTING BY JURISDICTION

Jurisdiction Length of sentence
Commonwealth 3 years or more
South Australia No restriction
New South Wales 1 year or more
Victoria 5 year or more
Queensland Any prison sentence
Tasmania 3 years or more
ACT No restriction
NT 3 years or more

 

“People who break the law are significant burdens upon society – from the people they injure with their actions to the substantial cost of keeping them in prison.

“Given the enormous impact that breaking the law has it is appropriate that their right to vote is suspended whilst in prison. Contact: Dan van Holst Pellekaan 0428 735 005 www.danvhp.com.au

“Rehabilitation should be every prisoner’s highest priority and upon completion of their sentence, the right to vote would be immediately restored.”