The Instigator
plainsillylol
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Mangani
Pro (for)
Winning
14 Points

In a Democratic Society, Felons Ought to Retain the Right to Vote

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Mangani
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/3/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,071 times Debate No: 5871
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)

 

plainsillylol

Con

Today, we live in a world in which societies need authority. People are always self interested which is why most societies cannot flourish. Due to this fact, we must protect society and the people who believe in the society. However, the only way to do this is to find a way enforce people to respect the society. This leads to my value which is justice and my value criterion which is Retribution of individuals in society.
I would like to clarify the following definitions from the Merriam-Webster's dictionary. Democracy= rule of majority Innocent= free from legal guilt or fault Felon= person who has committed a legal guilt or fault which is very serious; not innocent
My first contention is that every society, including democracy requires for a discipline or something to keep balance and order. For society to survive, it must have a discipline. Some action must be done to balance out the unlawful actions that have taken place, which can greatly damage the society. Without some form of retribution, society would be essentially condoning felony. So then, it would be considered okay for me to just murder someone. Without retribution, any democratic society would devolve into chaos and despair, something as a society we are morally obliged to avoid.
My second contention is that the idea of a democratic society can be in all scales large or small. The society could be a few people, or it could be millions of people. They may not even be people! With this being said, we do not know if the society is full of felons and would want to vote nor do we know if the society is free from felons. With this inconsistency, the affirmative must bear the burden of proving that felons should have the right to vote in every circumstance and situation.
My third contention is that Individuals in a society may not violate other's rights in a society. The social contract, stated by John Locke, states that the people forfeit some rights to government in order to secure more rights. It also states that when an individual violates the rights of others within this government, it is the peoples and government's responsibility to act against said individual. One right violation (that of life, which is needed to utilize all other rights) allows another right violation (disenfranchisement) to exist. This retribution is needed in order to sustain order.
My fourth contention is that People of a society do not owe felons the right to vote. Ought can mean 2 different things. In less serious situations, it can be used as a mere suggestion. For example, you ought to try the apple with peanut butter. In more situations, it is used as owing to. For example, the criminal ought to turn himself in. We can established that this is a very serious situation. Therefore, ought can be defined as owing. However, we do not owe these felons for anything for they have done more harm to society than contribution.
Mangani

Pro

Though my opponent's profile says he lives in India, this debate is about felons and the right to vote in a democratic society. I am unfamiliar with Indian laws and societal expectations, as well as their standards for democracy, and under the assumption that most debat.com members are from the US I will address this issue from an American standpoint, unless my opponent can show me a reason to do otherwise. Also, standards for felonies are no longer applied in other common law countries as they have been replaced with "summary offences" and "indictable offences".

In modern democracies, a felon is someone convicted of a felony. Felonies under the US Criminal Code are generally offenses that mandate a prison term of one year or more. Anything less is generally a misdemeanor or civil offense. (http://www4.law.cornell.edu...)

Because of the different gravity of different crimes which may be considered felonies, it is impossible to lay out a blanket ban on voting by convicted felons. Punishment for crimes in the US and other democracies is generally considered "correction" or rehabilitation, and the goal is to re-integrate rehabilitated criminals into society. The deprivation of life, liberty, and/or property is generally considered appropriate punishment for various felonies, and an assigned timeframe is allotted that is generally considered befitting the crime. The basic use of punishment and reward is the basis of all criminal theory. Ordinary crime is not a threat to the social order, and society needs criminal behavior and the legal responses to it to function properly. (http://www.criminology.fsu.edu...)

Putting aside the fact that all 50 states allow felons to vote to some degree(http://www.ncsl.org...), I personally believe that to fully integrate a rehabilitated criminal into society he/she must first believe he/she will be allowed that opportunity. Indeed, living in a democratic society, the right to vote is an essential part of full integration into a democratic society. So unless felons are executed or jailed for life, the right to vote should be an incentive of completing rehabilitation when rehabilitation is an option. Now on to my opponent's contentions...

My opponent's first contention is based on retribution to prevent chaos and despair. I point to the US where, again, all 50 states and DC allow felons to vote to some degree- some states only through a pardon, and the US has not devolved into chaos and despair. The US has stiff penalties for crimes such as murder, espionage, treason, and other felonies for which a criminal's voting rights may never be restored, and it has lesser penalties for, say, possession of more than one ounce of marijuana which is a felony in most states, and constitutes an average of 1 year in prison(www.norml.org). I assure you this crime is not grievous enough for society to devolve into chaos should it continue, and a person convicted of this crime is not necessarily too "untrustworthy" to be involved in electoral politics.

My opponent's second contention, unfortunately, does not make much sense to me. I cannot imagine a democratic society NOT made up of people. In a democratic society of a few or millions of people, it would be up to those people to decide how felons should be treated. The former Assistant State Attorney General for the State Elections Division of Alabama says: "Under the longstanding system, a felon may apply to regain his right to vote after serving his sentence and paying all fines and restitution that may be due. This is a sound practice. It ensures that only those criminals who have met their obligations to their victims and who have enough civic pride to apply for renewed voting rights can play a role in selecting our community, state and national leaders." (http://www.al.com...). I don't contend that felons "should have the right to vote in every circumstance and situation", and it is both unreasonable and unrealistic to take an absolute position on an issue that will have varying degrees of circumstance, ie. a murderer vs. an old lady who assists inmates with legal issues without realizing she was breaking the law (http://www.ahrc.com...).

My opponent's third contention only addresses murder. Even with murder there are several degrees. My opponent affirms that one right violation allows another rights violation to exist, but in the same paragraph he states that individuals in a society may not violate others' rights in a society. This is a contradiction, but I will nonetheless address the issue. The deprivation of rights for violation of rights is part of the criminal theory. It is necessary for the proper function of society, but the deprivation of rights should (in most cases) be employed as rehabilitation. Once all faults are corrected, fines paid, and punishment completed it should be recognized as such. The continued disenfranchisement of a convicted felon who has put effort into reintegration is unjust, and goes against the fundamentals of both the correctional system and democracy itself.

My opponent's fourth contention is based on semantics, but he wrote the resolution, not me. In recognition of this clever trap, let's define "ought" in the context of the resolution and the debate:

ought: —used to express obligation , advisability , natural expectation , or logical consequence

All points can be argued for pro successfully, but please choose one so as not to turn this into a wasted debate about semantics. Should society be "obligated"? No. My personal opinion is that a society attempting to be just will at least to some degree allow felons to vote based on established law, which would imply obligation to do so. Because it is my personal opinion, I would use my vote to "advise" society to allow felons to vote to some degree. It is a "natural expectation" of many criminologists as cited in my previous sources. It is also the "logical consequence" of laws already in place in the US.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
plainsillylol

Con

First of all, I am perfectly clear with the U.S. ideas, since i have lived there for a substantial amount of time.
Second, the resolution is not U.S. specific, it states a "democratic society" the U.S. however cannot be a model of this situaiton becuase it does not allow all members of their society to vote. The U.S. does not allow children to vote; who could be more educated than most voters. With this being stated, the U.S. cannot be a consideration for it does not represent all of the indiaviduals in a society. Without the U.S., my opponent cannot find a specific democratic society to prove his arguement while i have proven that the aff must prove this in any society which he has not.

My opponent believes that prison always rehabilitates however, there are always circumstances of this not being true.

My opponent's rebuttle to my first contention just soley address the U.S. system; which is inconsisnent because the U.S. is not a true democracy so my first contention stands.

My opponent's rebuttle to my second contention does not realize that my second contention simply states that the Affirmative must prove this consistent in all societies, while he only sticks to the U.S., which is not a pure democratic society.

My opponent's rubttle to my third contention is that it is contridictory, which i concede. So i my 3rd contention doesnt stand.

My opponent's rebuttle to my 4th contention is that i am soley focused on semantics and ought= logical consequence. However he did not show how the variation of ought in serious situation is invalid. So either, my opponent finds this resolution unserious, or does not understand what oweing means.

My opponent lacks any sort of framework, and offers no suggestions on why felons should vote. My second contention states the burdens the Aff faces which is left unaddressed.

With these ideals in mind, I negate the resolution that in a democratic society, felons ought to retain the right to vote.
Mangani

Pro

My opponent attempts to exclude the US from the resolution for various reasons. He contends the US cannot be a model of this situation because it does not allow all members of their society to vote. My response is that the resolution- "In a democratic society, felons ought to retain the right to vote" does not address children or "all members of their society". The resolution addresses felons, and whether or not they should "retain" the right to vote. In order for a felon to "retain the right to vote", he/she must first be eligible for the right to vote barring the fact they are a convicted felon. In other words a 16 year old (a child in the US) felon cannot retain the right to vote because he/she is not of legal voting age and therefore does not have the right to vote in the first place. Though my opponent implies that the affirmative must "prove this in a society", that is not the aim of the resolution. My premise is that in a democracy, felons should retain the right to vote- at least to some degree, and I used the US as an EXAMPLE of a democratic society which allows most felons to retain the right to vote. More examples are the individual 50 states which are also the individual democracies that regulate the right to vote for felons in different degrees.

My opponent's contention that prison does not always rehabilitate has already been addressed. He gives the reader the illusion that I stated prison always rehabilitates, but I made no such statement or implication. I made it clear that my argument is for rehabilitated criminals, and that the goal of incarceration is rehabilitation, though it is up to the states (in the US) whether or not prisoners are rehabilitated to the point where they can benefit from the right to vote.

My opponent next contends the US is not a democracy, and therefore his contention stands. However, the US is a "democratic society". Though the US is a Federal Republic, it is a democratic society because it is a Federation of Democratic States. The individual states do enjoy direct democracy, and it is the electoral process for the executive of the central government that does not qualify as a direct democracy. A Federal Republic, though not a direct democracy is a representative democracy (http://en.wikipedia.org...). If my opponent wishes to have a separate debate about political processes and what constitutes a democracy we may do so, but his attempt to nullify my arguments based on these objections is simply a clever way of not arguing the facts I presented in R1.

My opponent's next response is a revision of his second contention. In response to his new revision, this is not a debate about consistency rather whether or not it "should" be that way. I gave the US as an example of not only why it "should" be that way, but that it "is" that way in the US, and it works.

Again, my opponent attempts to turn this into an argument about semantics. I did not write the resolution, but I have made my position clear. Had my opponent really wanted to debate the topic he wouldn't have written the resolution in this manner, nor would he have made it clear in his opening argument that he would leave the door open for an argument on semantics should he not be able to address the facts. I gave 4 different examples of how the semantics can be applied, and how my argument is valid for all of them, though he implies I concentrated on only one. Again, we can have a separate debate on semantics, but the confusion is neither my doing, nor my aim, rather it is that of my opponent.

I believe my opponent has failed to successfully answer my R1 arguments, and so it is virtually pointless to present new ones as he will probably just ignore them and attempt to argue the straw man again. Though I know the reader will have common sense, I urge you to re-read my R1 arguments after reading my R2 rebuttals. My opponent presented no new arguments in R2.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
plainsillylol

Con

Democracy is can only be successful when all members of society contribute.

However, in the U.S> not every1 can vote. Ex. people ages 16 could be more than capable of contributing, however they cannot vote, so my opponent, who does not understand common democratic values and 3rd social studies.

Again, my opponent foolishly overlooks why arguments and for some reason cannot comprehend my arguments supporting my 1st contention, so it stands.

He attempts to state that he gives a U.S. example to stop my 2nd contention however, I have proven the U.S. is not a democracy.

I have presented defenses to all arguments in R2, so my opponent is misinformed and my opponent has NO FRAMEWORK!!!
He offers no ways to affirm the resolution. How can one vote affirmative without having any reasons.

Voting Issues:
1) My V/VC and contentions all stand except for contention on semantics which my opponent cowards out of.
2) My opponent is a racist because he assumes India, a country with the largest democracy in the world as "irrelevant"
3) My opponent has no framework.

I urge to vote neg.
Mangani

Pro

My opponent has conceded this debate with the statement "Democracy is can only be successful when all members of society contribute". Felons are members of society.

Due to the lack of an argument from my opponent, I will provide a list of democracies which allow for felon voting rights, both restricted and unrestricted:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India (yes, India allows convicted "felons" to vote after release from prison), Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa (where Nelson Mandela, a convicted felon, served as President), Sweden, Switzerland, United States (where convicted felon, Sen. Ted Stevens, is not barred from voting, running for senate, and fulfilling his duties as Senator), United Kingdom, and Ukraine all allow some type of restoration of voting rights for felons. (http://felonvoting.procon.org...)

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by plainsillylol 8 years ago
plainsillylol
for LD practice, thx
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Mohrpheus 8 years ago
Mohrpheus
plainsillylolManganiTied
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Vote Placed by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
plainsillylolManganiTied
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