Felons should have voting rights in the modern U.S.
R: Felons should have voting rights in the modern U.S.
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.
Burden of proof
As I am proposing the change to the status quo, I accept the burden of proof. I must affirm the resolution.
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)
Comment if interested.
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 legitimate power through consent of the governed if the governed cannot vote.
2: Without consent or power the government cannot secure 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.--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.
In this round, I will state my arguments.
First off, Felons already have voting rights when they get out of prison. For example, in California  California – Voting rights are restored after parole is completed and no longer incarcerated. Anyways, I will argue why Felons shouldn't have the right to vote.
Contention 1; Dishonesty and Poor Character.
"We don't let children vote, for instance, or noncitizens, or the mentally incompetent. Why? Because we don't trust them and their judgment...
So the question is, do criminals belong in that category? And I think the answer is clearly yes. People who commit serious crimes have shown that they are not trustworthy."
People who are felons have committed crimes and have taken other rights of people. Such as committing murder and taking away an innocent life. As my opponent has stated above "“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.” When a felon takes can take a life, and the happiness of that person, and the happiness of that family. What gives that felon to have rights that every American bestows? "Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. When someone commits a felon, they should have some rights taken away. Voting privileges should be taken away as well.
 " Children, non-citizens and the mentally incompetent can't vote because of standards involving trustworthiness and responsibility. The same requirements should apply to felons"
Contention 2;  Congressional Authority over Voting
"Most prominently, the 14th Amendment makes felon voting a state prerogative, not a federal one..."
According to section 2 of the 14th Amendment, it's okay to take away a felons right to vote
 "Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment grants states the authority to deny voting rights to anyone with a criminal conviction, and it is up to the states to determine their own restoration process if they choose to enact one."
The 1st Amendment doesn't state "Every U.S citizen no matter what the background, has the right to vote." The 1st Amendment doesn't give that right to everybody, instead they give the states the choice. This is to show, Felons don't have the right to vote, it's not a right. By the 14th Amendment, Felons don't have the right to vote depending on the States choice. This Amendment clearly shows, it's not taking away a right.
What should happen.
 " Your July 16 editorial “Disenfranchised Felons” asserts that the only reason not to let felons vote is “to stigmatize them or to continue punishing them.”
To the contrary, the fundamental reason we do not let felons vote is that we have certain minimum, objective standards of responsibility, trustworthiness and loyalty to our laws that must be met before someone can participate in the sacred enterprise of self-government. So we don’t let children vote or the mentally incompetent or noncitizens — or those who have committed serious crimes against other people.
The right to vote can be restored to felons, but it should be done carefully and case by case, to ensure that the person has really turned over a new leaf.
To put it another way: If you are not willing to follow the law, you cannot demand the right to elect those who make the law."
Felons should be able to vote once they have turned over a new leaf and have shown over a span of time that they are capable to vote in a trustworthy matter. They need to have consequences, if they don't, what have they learned?
Con than asks “do criminals belong in that category?” I am assuming the category being children, noncitizens, or mentally incompetent. Clearly felons should not. Felons are not children, are citizens, and if mentally incompetent would have made the insanity plea. Thus Felons do not fit in this category.
Much of this contention merely states the status quo, not support for it. I have shown in my argument why the status ought to be changed. Merely stating the status quo does not negate or support Con’s Argument.
I will now begin by rebutting Pro's case from R2.
Pro argues over Unalienable rights. Voting is not a right. As I have argued, in the 14th amendment it states that it isn't a given right to vote. It is up to the state in which they decide to let felons vote, or not vote. Pro arguing that voting for everyone is a right, is false. The 2nd part of the 14 Amendment can back this up.
Pro then goes on to say "We live in a society that requires of its government the protection and security of such rights." Yet the 14th Amendment, it's not a validate right. The state can choose whether or not to enforce this so called "Right". Let's take freedom of speech for example. the Government can't tell the state whether or not the state can enforce this right, it's a given right. Voting, isn't.
Pro argues the "The Power of the People" I am not entirely sure what he is arguing here. He gives us 2 quotes, and 1 sentence that doesn't say much nor explain what he is trying to argue here. Are you trying to say that if the government takes away a right, the people will rebell? That is what I'm getting at here.
Pro's next argument:
D: The whole picture
2: Government’s function is to secure unalienable rights (Not according the 2nd part of the 14th Amendment which states the States can decide whether or not a felon can vote.)
3: Government receives power through the consent of the governed via voting ( This doesn't mean that Felons should still enjoy freedom because they have murdered somebody. Consequences need to be bestowed so these people can learn from their mistakes. Doing so will also protect your city.)
Thank you to Lee001 for a great debate, it is always fun to debate you.
I'm sorry, I'm going to waive this last round, I'm sorry Kasmic. Feel free to award Pro conduct, but vote who had more convincing arguments. It's always a pleasure to debate you Kasmic.
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