PRISON inmates in Wales could be allowed to vote in local government elections under plans unveiled by the Welsh Government.

The proposal would allow young people who normally live in Wales who are in custody in the UK serving a custodial sentence of less than four years, to cast their vote.

Local government minister, Julie James, has published details of amendments to the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill, which is currently making its way through the Senedd, to allow the changes to take place.

If approved, the amendments will see approximately 1,900 adult prisoners and 20 young people in custody being able to vote at the next local government elections, to be held in May 2022.

Ms James said: “The principle of giving at least some prisoners the vote was supported in consultations undertaken by Senedd Cymru and the Welsh Government.

“Respondents to the consultations cited the human rights and citizenship of prisoners, alongside the rehabilitation benefits of enfranchisement, as reasons why the vote should be extended.


“However, we are not extending the right to vote to all prisoners and young people in custody.

“I believe our policy strikes the right balance between sending strong and positive messages to prisoners that they continue to have a stake in society and acknowledging the nature, gravity and circumstances of the offending.

“The sentence threshold of four years means that the most serious offenders will not be enfranchised.”

Eligible prisoners would register to vote based on an address in Wales, with which they have a connection, such as their family home or a previous residence.

Prisoners would be able to vote by post or by proxy only - there would be no polling stations in prisons.

In line with the recommendations of the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee, the Welsh Government will seek to reach agreement with the UK Government to enable prisoners to access relevant information and minimise possible barriers to registering and casting their vote.