Prisoners Have the Right to Vote


Back in May 2002 I learned about disenfranchisement of prisoners in the US. In many states you can be permanently barred from voting. Preventing anyone from voting at anytime is so completely contrary to the notion of democracy that I can’t believe that any reasonable person would stand for such a law.

But I learned that in Canada a law was passed in 1993 stating that if you are serving a term in a federal prison for more than 2 years, you lose the right to vote. I was pretty disappointed to hear this.

Recently I learned that on Oct. 31 2002, in the case of Sauvé v. Canada (Chief Electoral Officer) the Supreme Court of Canada overturned this law. I’m glad that my concerns were addressed so quickly. Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives the right to vote to all citizens. Not even the notwithstanding clause (Section 33) can touch it.



Russell O’Connor: contact me