The Instigator
kasmic
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
LatinaGirl8894
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Felons should have voting rights in the modern U.S.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
kasmic
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/18/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 673 times Debate No: 65371
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

kasmic

Pro

Felons should have voting rights in the modern U.S.

A: Clarification/Context

So as to be as clear as possible. I am arguing that so called Felons should retain the right to vote in spite of being felons. Below is some basic information on the current circumstance in regard to the debate topic.

The idea of taking away a criminal's right to vote has been around since ancient Greece and Rome. A condition called "civil death" in Europe involved the forfeiture of property, the loss of the right to appear in court, and a prohibition on entering into contracts, as well as the loss of voting rights. Civil death was brought to America by English colonists, but most aspects of it were eventually abolished, leaving only felon disenfranchisement intact in some parts of modern America.”(1)


“5.3 million Americans (1 in 40 adults) were unable to vote due to a felony conviction in the 2008 elections. This included 1.4 million African-American men, more than 676,000 women, and 2.1 million ex-offenders who have completed their sentences. “(1)

“State approaches to felon disenfranchisement vary tremendously. In Maine and Vermont, felons never lose their right to vote, even while they are incarcerated. In Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, and Virginia, felons and ex-felons permanently lose their right to vote, without a pardon from the governor. Virginia and Florida have supplementary programs which facilitate gubernatorial pardons. The remaining 45 states have 45 different approaches to the issue.

  • In 38 states and the District of Columbia, most ex-felons automatically gain the right to vote upon the completion of their sentence.
  • In some states, ex-felons must wait for a certain period of time after the completion of their sentence before rights can be restored.
  • In some states, an ex-felon must apply to have voting rights restored.”(1)

B: Burden of proof

As I am proposing the change to the status quo, I accept the burden of proof. I must affirm the resolution.

C: Debate Format

4 rounds/6,000 characters/72 hrs.
1st round: acceptance
2nd and 3rd rounds: Arguments and rebuttals
4th round: Final rebuttal and closing statements (No new arguments)

(1) http://www.ncsl.org...
LatinaGirl8894

Con

Accepted. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
kasmic

Pro

Thank you Latina Girl for accepting this debate and good luck!

We live in a society that accepts the notion of unalienable rights. As a society we accept that the main duty of a government is to secure such rights. Such a government receives their power from the consent of the governed. In our society this is done through voting.

A: Unalienable Rights

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (Declaration of Independence)

Unalienable: “impossible to take away or give up” (1)

We live in a society that accepts the concept that some rights are unalienable

B: The Duty of Government

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men” (Declaration of Independence)

“Locke believed that natural rights were inalienable, and that the rule of God therefore superseded government authority;” (2)

We live in a society that requires of its government the protection and security of such rights

C: The Power of the People

“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”(Declaration of Independence)

“Rousseau believed that democracy (self-rule) was the best way of ensuring the general welfare while maintaining individual freedom under the rule of law.”(2)

We live in a society that dictates that the power of government come from the consent of the governed.

D: The whole picture

We live in a society that accepts…

1: All people born equal with rights
2: Government’s function is to secure unalienable rights
3: Government receives power through the consent of the governed via voting

What happens when we take away the right to vote?

1: Government cannot receive power through consent of the governed if the governed cannot vote.
2: Without consent or power the government cannot secure unalienable rights

Conclusion:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”( Declaration of Independence)

If the right to vote is taken away, our entire system of government cannot live up to its primary purpose. In the interest of our government filling its purpose, or in other words, securing the unalienable rights afforded to all men, it is only reasonable to conclude that Felons should have voting rights in the modern U.S.

(1) http://www.merriam-webster.com...
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org...

LatinaGirl8894

Con

Felons have demonstrated bad behavior in choosing to commit the crime they did. So I would think that they are then unfit to make the most important decision than can make, which is to pick the person who will run our country.

If we give felons the right to vote, then we are basically saying that there is no difference between them and law abiding citizens. That just does not seem right to me.

Yes the government needs to protect people, but not for their voting rights. If they did the crime they need to know that there will be consequences and not being able to vote anymore should be one of them. They should not have the privilege to pick who makes the laws if you are not going to follow them yourself.

If felons cared about what the government did then they would not be going out breaking the law that the government has set into place.

Yes people are born with equal rights, but when someone chooses to break the laws that have been set in place, and then they have given up the chance to be treated equally with everybody else.
Debate Round No. 2
kasmic

Pro

Rebuttals:

Con says “Felons have demonstrated bad behavior in choosing to commit the crime they did. So I would think that they are then unfit to make the most important decision than can make, which is to pick the person who will run our country.”

Voting includes a lot more than just the vote cast for President. Unfit or not, our system is built on a concept of the consent of the governed. That includes consent of those being governed from prison.

Con says “If we give felons the right to vote, then we are basically saying that there is no difference between them and law abiding citizens. That just does not seem right to me.”

right, no difference when it comes to unalienable rights and representation. Being in prison should provide enough of a distinction between felons and non felons…

Con says “Yes the government needs to protect people, but not for their voting rights. If they did the crime they need to know that there will be consequences and not being able to vote anymore should be one of them. They should not have the privilege to pick who makes the laws if you are not going to follow them yourself.”

The Declaration of Independence reads ““We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

Governments are instituted to protect rights... including the right to vote.

Con says “If felons cared about what the government did then they would not be going out breaking the law that the government has set into place.”

Breaking the law does not equal not caring about law. What about Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, etc. They broke laws… They also understood the importance of laws. More than that they understood individual rights should be protected. Rights like voting.

Extended Arguments:

If the right to vote is taken away, our entire system of government cannot live up to its primary purpose. In the interest of our government filling its purpose, or in other words, securing the unalienable rights afforded to all men, it is only reasonable to conclude that Felons should have voting rights in the modern U.S.

LatinaGirl8894

Con

Since they have been in prison they have basically admitted that they are not capable of making rational decisions. We should not give them the opportunity to pick who will be the president or choose other prominent officials that will make decisions for everybody else.

Yes all men are "created" equal, but they do not always end up like everybody else. Some choose to live an honest life and others don't.

I would say that breaking the law is certainly not caring about it. If you cared about the rules and the law you would not break them in the first place. Felons don't understand the importance of the laws or else they would follow them. Yes all people have the right to vote but some need to understand that if you break the law things are going to be taken away from you.

By felons being able to vote all that would do would be to create problems. Those opposed to this issue could backlash and maybe they will stop voting. Felons would only vote for who will give them what they want, not what is best for the country.
Debate Round No. 3
kasmic

Pro

Rebuttals:

Con asserts that those who break the law “don’t understand the importance of laws or else they would follow them.” Con even says “I would say that breaking the law is certainly not caring about it. If you cared about the rules and the law you would not break them in the first place.”

“Yes all people have the right to vote but some need to understand that if you break the law things are going to be taken away from you.”

So if one breaks a law they do not understand the importance of law and should have the right to vote taken away? How about lesser crimes, like speeding? If I speed, according to con, I am expressing that I do not care for law in general, and should not have the right to vote. That seems like a huge assumption that those who break laws do not care about laws.

Conclusion:

Breaking the law does not equal not caring about law. What about Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, etc. They broke laws… They also understood the importance of laws. More than that they understood individual rights should be protected. Rights like voting.

If the right to vote is taken away, our entire system of government cannot live up to its primary purpose. In the interest of our government filling its purpose, or in other words, securing the unalienable rights afforded to all men, it is only reasonable to conclude that Felons should have voting rights in the modern U.S.

Thanks for reading,

Vote pro.
LatinaGirl8894

Con

This debate only focuses on felons. I wold hardly consider a speeding ticket to be a felony charge.

I am asserting that only those who have served time in prison should not have the right to vote because they do not care enough about the laws to follow them. Why should we let them vote when they have done something terribly wrong?
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Gabe1e 2 years ago
Gabe1e
Because I follow the rules of my debate, in my comments on my debate I cannot debate.
Posted by kasmic 2 years ago
kasmic
weird... you wont debate in the comments on your debate but will on mine. That is odd.
Posted by Gabe1e 2 years ago
Gabe1e
"Interesting shift of the burden of proof. It seems that Pro should hold the entire burden as he is defending a positive resolve, and yet says "Con must prove socialism is an overall better government than capitalism."

Should it not the burden be on pro to defend that "Capitalism is an overall better government system than Socialism," not the other way around."

Because I follow the rules on my debate of not debating in the comments, I will just say that you are wrong.. if he has to prove that Capitalism is NOT an overall better government system than Socialism, that means that he is saying Socialism is better. That is why I said it.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
cheyennebodie
Once a person pays a debt, that debt should be canceled. Not have it hanging around his neck forever.Now the real thing would be to take away the voting privilege away from anyone taking any kind of government handout.Because that is just bribery to get people to vote for those pushing freeloading.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Gabe1e 2 years ago
Gabe1e
kasmicLatinaGirl8894Tied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Total domination. Conduct and arguments to Pro, because Con didn't really even rebut them, Con rebutted like one or two out of like ten, but simply just posted a whole new opinion/argument right after and didn't source anything, but it didn't really bother since it was basically all opinions so there was nothing to source. Pro's argument was stable and strong, and was no match for Con's rebuttals. (if any) Also, half of the time I didn't even know what Con was rebutting because she didn't quote what Pro said, so it was kind of confusing.