At this morning’s meeting of the Joint Committee on the Draft Voter Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill, we took evidence from Jack Straw and David Davis. Both have led the campaign in the Commons to maintain a blanket ban on prisoners being allowed to vote. You can watch the sesssion here. As may be apparent, I was not that convinced by the line of argument. It was claimed that those who break the law should not be allowed to vote for those who make the law. I pointed out that not everyone who breaks the law is sent to prison. This point was conceded, but what flows from it is that the principle being enunciated no longer applies. It was asserted that it then becomes the seriousness of the offence, signified by imprisonment, but then one simply gets into an arbitrary decision as to the cut-off point, a decision that derives from no absolute principle. Why should the cut-off point be when one is sent to prison rather than, say, someone sentenced to a particular term of imprisonment?