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Does a person detained in prison have the right to vote?

Verified 01 December 2020 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Convicted inmate

A detained person who has not been finally sentenced to a civil rights ban may vote physically or by proxy or by correspondence.

But in order to vote, the person must be registered to vote..

Information on electoral rights

The director of the prison must inform the detained persons who may vote by all means of the manner in which they must register the lists of electors and the forms of voting.

This information must be issued within 15 days of the incarceration of the detained person.

The director of the prison must also inform the minor prisoners who will be of voting age on polling day in the same way.

It must provide the detained persons wishing to register on the electoral roll with the necessary means to submit their application for registration and to gather the supporting documents. On this occasion, he verifies by all means their identity.

Registration procedure

A detained person who is not already registered to vote may apply for registration. She must justify her identity, nationality and connection with a commune.

As such, the detained person must meet one of the following conditions:

  • To attest to a personal domicile, or an effective and continuous residence of at least 6 months on the date of conviction, or the payment of local taxes (housing tax, business property contribution, property tax on built or unbuilt properties) for at least 2 years
  • Credit chosen a communal social action center, an intercommunal social action center or an organization approved by the prefecture,
  • Have obtained a certificate of residence certifying his presence in the prison for at least 6 months. The detained person can then register on the electoral lists of the municipality of the institution. A certificate of attendance shall be provided to the detained person.

If she does not meet any of these conditions, she may apply to be domiciled at the prison. A temporary certificate of domiciliation must be provided for her to register on the electoral lists of the municipality of the establishment.

The director of the prison must provide the detained persons wishing to register on the electoral roll with the necessary means to submit their application and to gather the required documents.

It must provide these means in the same way to juvenile detainees who will be of voting age on polling day.

Voting at the polling station

The detainee may apply to the enforcement judge for leave to go out for a day to vote. Permission shall not be granted to an inmate sentenced to a prison term exceeding 5 years, who has not yet executed half of it.

Proxy voting

A detained person who has not requested permission to leave a day to vote or who has not obtained permission to vote may vote by proxy. It must designate a agent to vote in his place.

In order for the designated agent to vote in place of the detained person, he must be in possession of a power of attorney on which the signature of the detained person is duly certified.

The detainee must apply to the prison registry to ask:

  • the issuance of an extract from the register of nuts justifying his inability to go to a polling station
  • and the passage of a police officer to certify the power of attorney.

Once certified, the power of attorney allows the agent of the detained person to vote in his or her place on election day. Its validity is limited to one ballot, except in exceptional cases.

Voting by mail

The detained person may also vote by mail. Voting by mail takes place in the prison, before the election date.

Before the vote, the head of the prison shall make available to the persons on the list of prisoners entitled to vote by correspondence the following documents:

  • Election leaflets (no later than the Wednesday preceding the election)
  • Identification envelopes
  • Election envelopes

On the day of voting in the prison, the director checks the identity of each inmate elector before he or she inserts his or her ballot into the electoral envelope. The operation must take place in a place that is not visible.

Then, the voter puts the electoral envelope in the identification envelope, indicating on it his/her name, first name, place of detention and number of nut. He must then sign the excerpt from the list of electors admitted to vote by mail. The identification envelope is given to the director of the prison, who must seal it and sign the excerpt from the list of electors admitted to vote by mail. The identification envelope, sealed by the voter, shall be kept in a secure place. Once the envelope has been sealed, the elector can no longer change his vote.

On polling day, the head of the penitentiary institution shall submit to the chairman of the polling station at which the detained persons of his institution are registered the following documents:

  • Sealed identification envelopes
  • Extract from the list of electors eligible to vote by mail
  • A double copy of the minutes showing the number of electors at the establishment who are eligible to vote by mail and the number of electors who actually took part in the vote.

The following identification envelopes shall not be included in the outflow list:

  • Multiple envelopes in the name of the same elector
  • Envelopes received after the close of polling station
  • Envelopes without voter identification
  • Envelopes for which the polling station did not authenticate the identity of the elector.

The person against whom a court has pronounced the forfeiture of his civil rights shall lose his right to vote during the period fixed by the judgment.

The loss of civil rights must be brought to justice.

The deprivation of civil rights begins when the conviction is final, i.e. when the remedies (appeal, cassation, etc.) are exhausted, or when the time limits for appeal have expired.

Temporary detention

A person in pre-trial detention has the right to vote, but cannot be allowed out to vote. It may exercise its right to vote proxy or by mail. But in order to vote, the person must be registered to vote..

Information on electoral rights

The director of the prison must inform the detained persons who may vote by all means of the manner in which they must register the lists of electors and the forms of voting.

This information must be issued within 15 days of the incarceration of the detained person.

The director of the prison must also inform the minor prisoners who will be of voting age on polling day in the same way.

It must provide the detained persons wishing to register on the electoral roll with the necessary means to submit their application for registration and to gather the supporting documents. On this occasion, he verifies by all means their identity.

Registration on electoral lists

In order to vote, be registered on the electoral roll..

A detained person who is not already registered to vote may apply for registration. She must justify her identity, nationality and connection with a commune.

As such, the detained person must meet one of the following conditions:

  • To attest to a personal domicile, or an effective and continuous residence of at least 6 months on the date of conviction, or the payment of local taxes (housing tax, business property contribution, property tax on built or unbuilt properties) for at least 2 years
  • Credit chosen a communal social action center, an intercommunal social action center or an organization approved by the prefecture,
  • Have obtained a certificate of residence certifying his presence in the prison for at least 6 months. The detained person can then register on the electoral lists of the municipality of the institution. A certificate of attendance shall be provided to the detained person.

If she does not meet any of these conditions, she may apply to be domiciled at the prison. A temporary certificate of domiciliation must be provided for her to register on the electoral lists of the municipality of the establishment.

The director of the prison must provide the detained persons wishing to register on the electoral roll with the necessary means to submit their application and to gather the required documents.

It must provide these means in the same way to juvenile detainees who will be of voting age on polling day.

Proxy voting

The detained person must designate a agent to vote in his place.

In order for the designated agent to vote in place of the detained person, he must be in possession of a power of attorney on which the signature of the detained person is duly certified.

The detainee must apply to the prison registry to ask:

  • the issuance of an extract from the register of nuts justifying his inability to go to a polling station
  • and the passage of a police officer to certify the power of attorney.

Once certified, the power of attorney allows the agent of the detained person to vote in his or her place on election day. Its validity is limited to one ballot, except in exceptional cases.

Voting by mail

The detained person may also vote by mail. Voting by mail takes place in the prison, before the election date.

Before the vote, the head of the prison shall make available to the persons on the list of prisoners entitled to vote by correspondence the following documents:

  • Election leaflets (no later than the Wednesday preceding the election)
  • Identification envelopes
  • Election envelopes

On the day of voting in the prison, the director checks the identity of each inmate elector before he or she inserts his or her ballot into the electoral envelope. The operation must take place in a place that is not visible.

Then, the voter puts the electoral envelope in the identification envelope, indicating on it his/her name, first name, place of detention and number of nut. He must then sign the excerpt from the list of electors admitted to vote by mail. The identification envelope is given to the director of the prison, who must seal it and sign the excerpt from the list of electors admitted to vote by mail. The identification envelope, sealed by the voter, shall be kept in a secure place. Once the envelope has been sealed, the elector can no longer change his vote.

On polling day, the head of the penitentiary institution shall submit to the chairman of the polling station at which the detained persons of his institution are registered the following documents:

  • Sealed identification envelopes
  • Extract from the list of electors eligible to vote by mail
  • A double copy of the minutes showing the number of electors at the establishment who are eligible to vote by mail and the number of electors who actually took part in the vote.

The following identification envelopes shall not be included in the outflow list:

  • Multiple envelopes in the name of the same elector
  • Envelopes received after the close of polling station
  • Envelopes without voter identification
  • Envelopes for which the polling station did not authenticate the identity of the elector.