The Instigator
Yummy_Noodles
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
johannesjones
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

In a democratic society, a felon ought to retain the right to vote.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/2/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,505 times Debate No: 5864
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (6)

 

Yummy_Noodles

Pro

This is the Nov/Dec LD resolved. I have a tounament coming up and I would like to practice. Good Luck.
_____________________________________________________________________

First of I would like to define a few key terms I will be using in my debate.
Democracy: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
Felon: someone who commits a grave crime declared to be a felony by the common law or by statute regardless of the punishment actually imposed

My value is equality of rights
My value criteria is individual rights

Equality of rights can be defined as: a person and/or community having equal status of rights and privileges.
Individual rights can be defined as: every person deserves his/her own right in a community or society.

C1: Upholding the equality of rights results in the best course of action for this resolution.

Equality of rights is something all men/women must share in order to achieve the best outcome for this resolution. When you place felons below people such as you and I, you devalue equality of rights. Felons have equal rights as stated by the constitution of the united states of america. To take away ones rights is to strip down the very morals this country was founded on. If my opponenet truly values democracy then he must believe that to uphold democracy you must follow the constitutional rights it specifies. This being said he must also value equality of rights being that this is the principle upon which the constitution was founded on. You cannot have democracy without equality of rights, so therefore my value supercedes my opponents.

C2: Upholding individual rights is the better criteria for upholding values.

I will now tell you a clear mechanism that intertwines my value and my value criteria. Individual rights is the only way equality of rights can be upheld. In order in to uphold equality of rights, or giving each person an equal desicion in the society, you must give each person individual rights. Individual rights is being denied to felons by my oppopnent, which means he is not letting each person have an equal say in the society, which devalues our very constitution. My opponent believes in democracy, and yet does not believe in the prime principle behind democracy - EQUALITY. Democracy was founded on the belief that each INDIVIDUAL will have an EQUAL say in the decisions made in society.
Denying the right to vote to felons denies them of the very thing democracy is founded on, you cannot single out a group of people because of things done in the past and deny them a right in the present. My opponent also contradicts himself by making his value democracy and then saying he is denying democracy to a specific group of people.
johannesjones

Con

I will, likewise, begin by defining the terms that I am introducing.
Social contract (as applied here): A society submits itself to the jurisdiction of a government in exchange for protection
Modern democracy: a government system ruled, in some way, by all willing citizens

Modern democracy is, of course, founded on equality. This does not, however, override the duty of government in the social contract. Felons have, according to the rule of the law, not complied with the expectations of the society in which they live (as written in law). They are not fit to function with the normal rights of a citizen. Often they are placed in prison, where their freedoms are diminished severely. While the measure is not necessarily permanent, among these loss of freedoms it is fitting to place the right to vote.

We assume that a felony indicates danger to a society, requiring punishment. If the judgment of the felon is erroneous as defined by law, then their judgment is not appropriate for selecting the leaders of their government.
Debate Round No. 1
Yummy_Noodles

Pro

My opponent stated, "Modern democracy is, of course, founded on equality."
He agrees with my value.
A right is not the same as a privilege. A right is something that cannot be taking away. My opponent is saying why a right, something that is garanteed, should be stripped away for the felon's entire life.
Modern Democracy is based on voting. The only thing that is important in a democracy is voting, it does not matter whether or not they did something bad or not. By excluding citizens from voting, you are going against a democracy.
A felon may go against the law, and may endanger society, but why should he be punished twice? Jail is supposed to help the prisoner go back into society as smoothly as possible. But if the right to vote were to be taken away, he could not interact with the rest of the democratic society, and would not be able to vote on things that he wants. It would make him more likely to lash out again against society.
This is not at all like a democratic society. A democratic society has equal rights for all, because in a democracy, no one is excluded.
johannesjones

Con

Not allowing felons to vote is not an infringement on equality. Anyone can commit a crime and become a felon. Everyone is born with the assumption that when they turn 18 they will be allowed to vote. The standards and the expectations are the same for all citizens. Voting is not the only important way to function as a part of a democracy. The revoking of voting serves as an occasional reminder of mistakes.
Debate Round No. 2
Yummy_Noodles

Pro

This is an infringement on equality because felons are in fact not equal with the rest of the citizens. And in a democracy, everyone has to be equal, or it is no longer a democracy. Punishment is for people to learn from mistakes. If felons are punished by taking their right to vote away FOREVER, then they will never learn becasuse they wont have that chance to learn. In a democracy everyone must have equal rights and the same individual rights.
johannesjones

Con

Nothing is necessarily permanent in most developed free countries, other than what follows execution. Applications can be submitted to repeal anything, and applying for the right to vote many years after committing a minor felony should never be futile. Thanks to my opponent on a good argument.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
No. A convicted felon is always a felon, even after release from prison.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
The debate topic and all the arguments made apply to felons having the right to vote while in prison, right? Moreover, it is not "at some point" it is proposed to be immediate, right?
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
Draxxt, nearly every modern democracy allows felons to regain the right to vote at some point after fulfilling their debt to society: 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. (From my debate)
Posted by draxxt 8 years ago
draxxt
I maintain that the US is a bad representation of the hypothetical democratic society that the resolution portrays. I take it as a direct democracy. You use the US as an instance instead of contributing to the hypothetical factors and you limit your debate.
Posted by smsiebe 8 years ago
smsiebe
I don't think this debate is developed enough for me to fairly vote on it, but I do have a few things to say...

I think their are a few things in this debate that are a little frustrating. For the pro, if you are going to debate this at a tournament, you need to work harder to extend through your arguments. I think you become too concerned with refuting what he says and in the process stop trying to prove why your arguments are good. Even if you feel you are beating his arguments, you need to still extend your own contentions through, even if you simply say that your arguments have been conceded. The con needs to directly answer the pro. Even if just to show how your arguments answer your opponents.

As for the debate as a whole. I think this debate suffers from a complete lack in depth, it seems that neither side is making well thought out responses, and instead make quick, at times shallow answers. This is not to say the ideas you are putting forth are bad, they just need more development and need to be expanded.

As a quick side note to the pro, I've judged LD a few times in the past, and, as I said above, pulling through your value and criterion, and both your contentions will win you at least a few rounds. Even if your opponent does not respond in a structure similar to yours, you still need to maintain your structure and framework, otherwise the judge will think your are flustered and losing focus. your case and arguments are good however, just tweak your rebuttal strategy and you'll be fine.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
Consider the proposition "In a democratic society, felons should not be imprisoned." Now apply Pro's arguments to that proposition. Citizens have a right to walk around freely and rights cannot be compromised, according to Pro, rights are absolute. Equality therefore demands that felons not be imprisoned. Clearly, Pro's argument is wrong because rights are in fact not absolute. we deprive people of their freedom because they committed a crime, despite the person having a right to be free. Depriving someone of the right to vote is less severe than imprisoning them, so it is reasonable to suppose the right to vote could be usurped as a consequence of the crime.

To argue the Pro case, I would take the tact that while removing the felon from the streets keeps the person from committing another crime while in jail, removing the right to vote doesn't do anything to protect the public. Moreover, losing the right to vote is unlikely to deter the felon from crime if imprisonment does not. The con argument, I think, is that committing a felony is a clear indication that the person has very poor judgment and moral character, and should not have his right to vote restored until he can establish that his judgment and character have improved -- perhaps after, say, ten years have elapsed or passes a civics test, or something.

Neither side argued very convincingly, but since Pro failed to make the case, it should go to Con. I lean toward the Con view overall, but could be convinced otherwise.
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
I understand. You should go check mine out on the same subject. I think both sides did very well on that one...
Posted by johannesjones 8 years ago
johannesjones
thanks for the analysis mangani. first debate- what can i say?
tried to play the devil's advocate.
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
This debate was unusually disappointing, especially given the fact that I recently debated the same topic.

Before debate: Pro
Not only should a felon retain the right to vote in a democratic society, they do in most.

After debate: Pro
Con did not convince me otherwise.

Conduct: Tie
Neither demonstrated a significant difference in attitude or respect toward the other.

Spelling/Grammar: Con
Pro had a multitude of run-ons, and didn't bother separating his statements into paragraphs. I also caught a couple of misspelled words.

Convincing arguments: Tie
Neither presented convincing arguments. Neither seemed interested in the debate at all.

Sources: Tie
No sources were presented on either side.
Posted by Atchison 8 years ago
Atchison
Yummy_Noodles said This is the Nov/Dec LD resolved. I have a tounament coming up and I would like to practice. Good Luck. so you have a tounament? wtf is a tounement. sounds like a conodoment made of turnips.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by kels1123 8 years ago
kels1123
Yummy_NoodlesjohannesjonesTied
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Vote Placed by shneezers 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by johannesjones 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by aelsi 8 years ago
aelsi
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Mangani 8 years ago
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