The Instigator
Capitalistslave
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Anoid
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Current prisoners should have the right to vote.

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Post Voting Period
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after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/11/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 579 times Debate No: 100818
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)

 

Capitalistslave

Pro

I am challenging the user, Anoid to this debate.

Here are some rules of the debate:
1) No ad hominem, personal attacks, or insults
2) The total number of rounds minus 1 should be used for argument since I am not using round 1 for debate. This is to keep the number of rounds used for argument even between us.
3) The last round that is used for argument should just be rebuttal to your opponent's arguments and/or conclusions. No new arguments are allowed in this round, but you can bring up new facts and information as long as it is used to rebut what your opponent stated.

I llok forward to this debate, and wish my opponent luck. If they object to any of the above rules, or want more/less rounds of debate they may say so in the comments section, before accepting the debate, and I will change things around.
Anoid

Con

I accept the challenge and agree to the following rules. I wish my opponent luck and hope all viewers enjoy the following debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Capitalistslave

Pro

I will follow a structure that basically is this: Main points will be bolded, and supporting information will be beneath them, not in bold. Later once my opponent has offered main arguments, a summarization of what they said will be bolded and a rebuttal offered underneath. If what I want to rebut from my opponent is short, I will directly quote them and italicize it to indicate it is a quote from my opponent and then offer rebuttal underneath that.

Now, let us begin:

There are people in prison for crimes that majority think shouldn't be a crime, why should they be denied the right to vote?
57% of Americans currently think we should legalize marijuana[1] yet there are currently 2.2 million people in prison for marijuana possession[2]. These people are not allowed to vote under all state laws while they are serving their sentence[3]. These people can be a driving force too to help lead to the legalization of marijuana. Because the majority that support marijuana legalization is such a small majority, every vote matters, and the fact that people who are likely in favor of marijuana legalization(I imagine close to 100% of convicted marjuana users think marijuana should be legalized) this is reducing the amount of people who would vote on such a law, and basically helps keep the law criminalizing marijuana longer than it should be there for. This leads nicely into my next point

If society is the one who decides the laws, certain laws may never be removed because you're removing the suffrage of people who would want to get rid of that law
Let's suppose, again, you have a small majority of people(somewhere between 51-59%) who believe a certain law should be removed. Due to that people are imprisoned for breaking that law, it removes people who are supportive of getting rid of that law, and potentially makes it near imossible to remove that law. Eventually, you could even have majority of people, or maybe just a large number of people, imprisoned for breaking a law that most people think shouldn't exist. Prisoners, in my opinion, are still part of our society, and they should have a say in what laws our society have, otherwise you run into situations like I described where the people who support removing a law are imprisoned and can no longer vote to remove that law. I do see a potenital rebuttal to this, such as someone asking "why should convicted murderers be allowed to vote? This could potentially lead to legalizing murder" Well, I think the number of people who think murder should be illegal will always outnumber the people who think it should be legal. So, why not allow them to vote? Does it harm anything in the long run? Has there ever been a society who believed murder is okay under all circumstances? I don't think so. Some societies would legalize murder in specific circumstances, but if they do, that's their decision. And again, if a majority of people want to legalize murder in a specific circumstance, shouldn't that be their choice? Murder might be considered wrong to us, but morals essentially come from society in some shape or form. The argument that morals come from a god is not entirely accurate in my opinion, but let's just assume it is. What if that society's god decides it's okay to murder in a certain circumstance? Every religion has a different god, and thus a different set of morals. Even if you think morality comes from a god, what makes the god you get morals from superior to the one that others get their morals from? Thus, Morality, even if it comes from a god is subjective because there are a number of gods. It's subjective opinion that the morals of one god is superior to another. And if you believe morality comes from society, that makes it subjective as well, since what makes one society's morals superior to another's?

Thus, since morality is basically subjective, prisoners should be allowed to vote in order to express their subjective opinion on the matter. Why is one person's set of morals superior to another's? What makes a non-prisoner's set of morals superior to a prisoner's set of morals? To indicate a prisoner shouldn't be allowed to vote, you're indicating they don't get to voice their opinion or influence society's opinion on a moral subject. Why?

The right to vote is a very important right, and it would need a compelling reason to take it away from an individual
I don't believe marijuana usage is sufficient reason to take someone's right to vote away. Do you? Now, maybe you believe murder is a valid reason to take their right to vote away, but as I discussed above, it would all be based off of subjectivity, and subjectivity is not reason enough to take a person's right to vote away.

There can be people in prison innocent of the crime, should they have their right to vote taken away?
I think anyone would agree if someone is actually innocent of a crime, they should have no rights taken away. Because our justice system is imperfect though, we will have people who are innocent of a crime. This study estimates that about 10,000 innocent people are convicted every year[4]. That's 10,000 people every year who wrongfully get their right to vote taken away. Does preventing more people from being allowed to vote, who actually committed their crime, justify taking away the right to vote for innocent people? I argue it does not. Even if there is one innocent person who has their right to vote taken away for ever 1,000,000 people who actually committed the crime, I don't think it justifies taking the right to vote away from prisoners.





Sources:
[1] http://www.pewresearch.org...
[2] http://www.drugpolicy.org...
[3] http://www.ncsl.org...
[4] https://researchnews.osu.edu...



Anoid

Con

To be fair to my opponent, I will use this round for my introduction and will rebuttal next round. This way, we each have equal opportunities to rebuttal.

My introduction begins here:

Prisoners are not currently part of society.
Government officials are voted into office by society. This is because their roles are to help decide what is best for society and lead them. While prisoners are incarcerated, they are no longer part of society. This is how incarceration works. Incarceration is a form of punishment in which offenders are isolated from the rest of society. If the goal of incarceration is to isolate offenders from society, why would they be allowed to participate in societal activities? Allowing prisoners to vote would undermine the entire basis of the punishment.

Disallowing the right to vote acts as a deterrent.
If prisoners are allowed to vote, their punishment is no longer as severe as if they would not be allowed to vote. This makes weighing their options lean more to committing a deviant act. Some opponents to this may say that the right to vote isn't that big of a deal to prisoners, so why not just let them vote. A man by the name of Patrick Buchana puts this into perspective. "Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. And when you are doing time, do not expect your rights to be considered because when the crime was being committed, the one responsible didn’t consider anything[1]."

Candidate campaigning.
If prisoners were allowed to vote, they would be very easy to sway, as they care about getting out. A candidate could easily offer less of a sentence or other benefits to prisoners just to get their vote. This would have drastic repercussions, as less harsh of a punishment could sway individuals opinions in committing a deviant act. This could increase crime, as there would be less of a deterrent. This leads into my final introductory argument.

Prisoners are imprisoned as they are considered dangerous to society.
Crime can be defined as an act that can be considered dangerous to society. Government officials establish laws in order to keep the general public safe. Murder, rape, assault, etc. are all examples of acts that are harmful to the public. When individuals commit these acts, they no longer have society's best interests in mind. If they no longer think about society's best interests, how can they be expected to vote for the best officials for society?

[1] http://www.newtimes.co.rw...;
Debate Round No. 2
Capitalistslave

Pro

Alright, I will offer rebuttals to each of my opponent's points, and I thank them for organizing their debate similar to mine. It makes it easier for organizing rebuttals.

Re: Prisoners are not currently part of society
I would argue that they are actually part of society still. They are just a different part of society. While they don't interact with the majority within society, the reason I believe they are part of society is because they are still governed by the same people in government as we are. It should be noted that one definition of the word society is " The community of people living in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws, and organizations." [5] Prisoners are still living in the same country as us, and have to abide by the same laws and customs as us, and so would fit under this definition of society. I would argue that they only need to fit under one definition of society to be considered under society. Additionally, prisoners aren't completely separate from the rest of us. We can still visit prisoners whenever we want to essentially. Arguing prisoners are not part of society would be similar to arguing the Amish are not part of society. For the most part, they are segregated from the rest of us, and live essentially in a different time. We can visit them, just like we can visit prisoners. Maybe this isn't a perfect comparison, but it was the only one I can think of.

Re: disallowing the right to vote acts as a deterrent
I believe the pros of allowing prisoners to vote, as I discussed above, outweigh this con. Additionally, what about the people who are convicted who are actually innocent? I know you weren't going to respond to what I said yet, but I look forward to your response about this. So, I would like to ask you, does disallowing criminals the right to vote justify disallowing non-criminals who are convicted? Does the deterrence of committing crime justify preventing law-abiding citizens from voting? Additionally, how much does removing the right to vote actually deter people from committing crime? I actually don't think it would deter all that much. For one, many people don't even vote. What percentage of criminals actually vote to begin with, prior to being incarcerated? This is something that would need to be considered. If they don't even vote to begin with, it wouldn't be a detterrent at all.

Re: Candidate Campaigning
Actually, I don't think this would be much of a problem. Do you realize how many people would probably be upset over the fact a candidate released murderers or child molesters early? There are far more people who are law-abiding citizens than those who become imprisoned for crime. The law-abiding citizens would be opposed to releasing the murderers and violent offenders early. It's true this would likely apply to non-violent offenders, but a vast majority of people think non-violent offenders should be released from prison early anyways[6]. I tried looking for public opinion about releasing murderers, violent offenders, and sexual offenders early, but my searching has proved no results. I did find a specific article from breitbart talking about opinion of Jerry Brown's releasing of violent criminals early, but I don't trust breitbart and they are known for having extreme right-wing bias anyways. So, other than that, I have not found anything regarding this. Perhaps my opponent would have better luck? This would be relevant for either of us to find, and help potentially either one of our arguments.


Re: Prisoners are imprisoned as they are considered dangerous to society.
But at the same time, how are laws that are seen as unjust supposed to be gotten rid of when a good portion of the people who believe it should be gotten rid of, are imprisoned? So, while it does prevent people who would not have society's best interest from voting, it also prevents people who do match society's opinion on the matter from voting. I don't think I will need to repeat myself about the marijuana issue, but that is specifically what I refer to.

Additionally, I don't think it would make much of a difference in terms of getting candidates who don't have the people's interest at heart. The people who are not prisoners greatly outnumber the people who are prisoners. How much influence could the prisoners honestly have on getting a candidate who would make America unsafe from crime?


I believe I am finished with my rebuttals, and will turn this over to my opponent to rebut my original arguments.



Sources:
[5] https://en.oxforddictionaries.com...
[6] http://www.pewtrusts.org...
Anoid

Con

I will be using the same format for rebuttals as what my opponent stated in round 2. I will address what was he has said in round 3 later in round 4. The following rebuttals will be address my opponent's arguments in round 2. I will now begin.

RE: There are people in prison for crimes that majority think shouldn't be a crime, why should they be denied the right to vote?
I would first like to point out an honest error in my opponent's statistic. "yet there are currently 2.2 million people in prison for marijuana possession." The way the site is set up, it gave the impression that this number is for those in prison for marijuana offenses. However, the 2.2 million is the total individuals incarcerated in the U.S. in federal, state, and local prisons in 2014. [2] The actual number of those imprisoned for marijuana offenses is 40,000, and about half are in for possession alone. [3] The total U.S. population, as of 3/12/17 9:39 P.M. is 325,761,778. [4] When calculated, this means that those imprisoned for marijuana possession only account for .0123% of the population. Whether these individuals have the right to vote or not would not influence the vote on whether or not to legalize marijuana. I would also like to point out that the 2.2 million incarcerated number include those who are in jail. Those who are in jail are those who are currently awaiting trial. Currently, most states allow those in jail to vote, [5] so those who have not been proven guilty of a crime still have a voice in the democratic process.

RE: If society is the one who decides the laws, certain laws may never be removed because you're removing the suffrage of people who would want to get rid of that law.
I've already calculated the example given in the previous argument and proven that it would have no effect on a given election. Also, most controversial or debated laws do not have serious penalties. Most would result in a fine or little prison time. Also, when laws are passed, most citizens who disagree with it would still follow the law until the law is changed or abolished. This is what it means to be a law-abiding citizen.

RE: The right to vote is a very important right, and it would need a compelling reason to take it away from an individual.
I agree that what can be defined as a crime is subjective. However, citizens get to vote on candidates who decide what is enough to take away the rights of individuals. When a law is passed that defines a certain crime, it is expected of law-abiding citizens that they follow that law, and, if they wish for the law to be changed or abolished, they vote on a candidate that would achieve that for them. When offenders disobey these laws, they are no longer following the process in which their country has established. They are well aware that they will lose some of their basic rights as a citizen when they offend. I argue that if an individual cannot follow the laws of their country, the deserve to lose the right to vote while incarcerated.

RE: There can be people in prison innocent of the crime, should they have their right to vote taken away?
Yes, unfortunately, the justice system cannot be perfect and innocent people will be imprisoned. I cannot refute this. However, what my opponent is arguing is that since innocent people are being imprisoned, although a small number, punishments should be taken away. I argue that making punishments less severe because innocent people are convicted is not reasonable. "Even if there is one innocent person who has their right to vote taken away for ever 1,000,000 people who actually committed the crime, I don't think it justifies taking the right to vote away from prisoners." 1,000,000 people is a lot of people and would have drastic effects on an election in comparison to the one individual. This statement comes down to opinion and can be compared to one of those "Would you rathers." I believe that the effects would be too drastic for one innocent citizen. While it is sad that an individual could be wrongly convicted, I argue that it does not outweigh the overall number of prisoners who have been convicted rightfully.

I believe I have addressed what I wanted to address and now give my opponent his turn, where I await his final rebuttals and conclusion.

[2] http://www.drugpolicy.org...
[3] http://www.rollingstone.com...
[4] http://www.worldometers.info...
[5] https://www.prisonersofthecensus.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Capitalistslave

Pro

I will now defend against my opponent's rebuttals to my round 2 arguments:

RE: There are people in prison for crimes that majority think shouldn't be a crime, why should they be denied the right to vote?
Ah, I had a feeling that number might have been too high and I should have double-checked it. Still, 40,000 is significant enough. I admit it most likely won't influence the vote on marijuana legalization, but you're still denying people the right to vote based on a law that most believe shouldn't even be a law. Perhaps the solution is actually some middle-ground stance, and we're both wrong in arguing for what we are in this debate: Maybe it should be that violent offenders are denied the right to vote, while non-violent offenders in prison are allowed the right to vote. After all, as I pointed out, most people have a higher opinion of those who are non-violent offenders in prison and believe their punishment should be lightened. I don't expect my opponent to compromise and agree that non-violent offenders in prison should be allowed the right to vote. However, if you were to agree to that, I think the proper thing for voters to do would be to make things a tie between us for this debate. I won't say I'm conceding, but if my opponent agrees to the proposition of allowing non-violent offenders in prison the right to vote, I would concede to that point, but only in that event. I will still offer arguments otherwise for the original stance I agreed to from the beginning: which is that all prisoners should be given the right to vote. Just keep in mind that's an option that I agree to if you feel you might lose the debate and don't want to. I'm fine with us compromising a stance on allowing non-violent offenders the right to vote and violent offenders would have it taken away. In a way, it would make sense because violent offenders should have a worse punishment, they do already, but this would be a means of lightening up the punishment for non-violent offenders.

Moving on...

RE: If society is the one who decides the laws, certain laws may never be removed because you're removing the suffrage of people who would want to get rid of that law.
I want to specifically quote my opponent on this point: "Also, when laws are passed, most citizens who disagree with it would still follow the law until the law is changed or abolished. This is what it means to be a law-abiding citizen." At the same time, however, there are laws that many people will see as unjust. Civil disobedience is often justified against these laws. Would you, for example, call Rosa Parks a law breaker for doing what she did? In a way, I suppose she was, but I think you could still consider someone a law-abiding citizen even if they break laws that are unjust. I would consider those who only break just laws to not be law-abiding citizens.

RE: The right to vote is a very important right, and it would need a compelling reason to take it away from an individual.
My opponent didnt' really offer a compelling reason why the right to vote, specifically, should be taken away from the person here though. They did talk about how some rights in general will be taken away, but I don't believe this suffices for why specifically the right to vote.

RE: There can be people in prison innocent of the crime, should they have their right to vote taken away?
Yes, I believe this comes down to subjective opinion, nonetheless I can still offer reasons why it would make sense to allow prisoners to vote due to this problem I pointed out. Is it not punishment enough to be taken away from your family, to potentially have to go through fights with inmates, to no longer be able to improve you lot in life, and no longer able to do what you enjoy? I consider each of those things to be major punishments, why do we need to add taking away the right to vote to all of that? You do say that a couple million people could have impacts on elections. However, I argue they would only have an impact on an election that is very close, within 2 million votes of one another. Not to mention, I don't think the voting rate for prisoners is 100%. It's not even 100% for the general population. I would guess it would be half as much, so maybe 1 million prisoners would vote. For the policies that would release the prisoners, there are far more law-abiding citizens who outnumber the prisoners, and I don't think they would be able to vote their way out of prison, so to speak. They may have influence over other policies, but is that such a big problem? I think the chance of having potentially a candidate chosen because of the prison vote, is therefore, ok so that we can have the innocent people in prison vote if they so chose. It just doesn't seem to be a big enough impact problem to allow prisoners to vote in my opinion. Again, 1 million people can't beat the tens of millions of law-abiding citizens. They can't just vote their way out of prison.


Conclusion
I believe, as I mentioned, since there are people in prison for laws that most people think shouldn't even be a law, and that there are innocent people in prison, additionally since crime is partially a subjective idea, as my opponent also conceded, that this means there is not sufficient reason to deny the right to vote to prisoners.

I thank my opponent for this debate, and wish them luck in future debates.
Anoid

Con

My opponent has brought up a good point in a middle-ground stance. We both argue extremes in which all prisoners should not be allowed to vote or they should be allowed. The compromise, I believe, is a realistic and sensible approach. Due to this, I concede to a compromise between the two of us in which we both agree non-violent offenders would be allowed to vote and violent offenders would lose the right to vote. Due to this compromise, I will not be posting any rebuttals to my opponent's regarding my original stance. I believe it would be a waste of my time arguing a position that does not fit into the final resolution.

Conclusion:
I concede to the compromise given by Capitalistslave and ask all voters to vote for a tie between him and myself.

I would like to thank my opponent, Capitalistslave, for an engaging debate. For my first debate, I found it to be very productive and thought-provoking and I could not think of a better opponent to give me a challenge as well as Capitalistslave did. I wish him luck in future debates and look forward to my next debate.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Mharman 1 year ago
Mharman
I guess this debate is a tie.
Posted by Mharman 1 year ago
Mharman
I guess this debate is a tie.
Posted by Anoid 1 year ago
Anoid
It's my first debate, so no. It's funny how my first one ended that way.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
This is, perhaps, the first time I've had a debate end in a compromise! Is this also the first time for you, anoid?
Posted by jakufek 1 year ago
jakufek
Tantalising!
No votes have been placed for this debate.