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Human Rights

Britons Still Suffering from Vote Limits after 100 Years



With the passage of 100 years since the representation of the People Act in UK, which gave women the right to vote for the first time, there are still severe limits for the voters. Children, lords, foreign citizens, prisoners, people who are guilty of election-related crimes, and royal family members cannot vote in the UK.

According to the Electoral Commission, no one can vote in UK unless they are 18 or more on polling day. In Scotland, the rules differ a little. People 16 or more are able to vote in local elections, but not a general election. There exist so many campaigns who demand the age limit to be reduced to 16. They believe that more than 1.5 million potential voters in the UK are being ignored in current age limit.

Members of the House of Lords are also forbidden to vote in general elections. This rule has been employed from hundred years before. However, in 2011, Hywel Francis asked Nick Clegg whether it was identical with the rules of the European Court of Human Rights.

“The fact that members of the House of Lords have a voice in Parliament makes it legitimate to deprive them of a right to have their voice also heard through their elected representative in the Commons,” Clegg replied.

Foreign resident and immigrants cannot vote in parliamentary elections neither. People without UK citizenship are banned to vote. UK, Irish or Commonwealth citizen’s vote are just acceptable. Citizens of the European Union can only vote if they live in the area in which they wish to vote.

Another group of people who are not allowed to vote in UK are the prisoners. It was employed in 1983. However, people convicted of disobedience of a court of law, are able to vote, as can all civil prisoners, who are imprisoned for non-criminal offences. According to the Electoral Commission, people guilty of “corrupt or illegal practices in connection with an election” cannot vote.

And the last group of people who are surprisingly banned to vote are the Royals. As Parliament guidelines suggest, it would be considered as unconstitutional for the Monarch or their family to vote in an election. According to official royal guidelines, Head of State “has to remain strictly neutral with respect to political matters.”