This response sets out our views on the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee of the National Assembly for Wales’ inquiry into voting rights for prisoners. We are responding to this consultation as part of our statutory role to keep electoral law under review and to recommend changes where we think they are needed.
We take no view on whether prisoners should be entitled to vote or not. This is a matter of constitutional policy which is for the National Assembly to determine. Our response therefore focuses on the practical implications should prisoners in Wales be given the right to vote.
Any legislation should be commenced no later than six months prior to the beginning of the annual canvass. This would give Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) sufficient time to plan and implement the changes, both for the canvass and for related public awareness activities.