The Instigator
soccerkid411
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
merlinator
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

In a democratic society felons ought to retain teh right to vote.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
merlinator
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/25/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,651 times Debate No: 5811
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (3)

 

soccerkid411

Pro

I'm a ld novice going to my first tournament next weekend and just want a little experience.
anybody want to give me a good debate??
merlinator

Con

Alright lol i tried LD once last year so i'll go against you. Put your pro case up.
Debate Round No. 1
soccerkid411

Pro

I affirm the resolution, Resolved: In a democratic society, felons ought to retain the right to vote.
In order to clarify the resolution, I offer the following definitions. (Webster's New World Dictionary) Democracy (root of democratic) is defined as a "government by the people either directly or through elected representative." This includes "acceptance and practice of the principle of equality of right, opportunity and treatment." A Felon is defined as a person guilty of a major crime that is punishable by more than one year in prison. It is important to note that the majority of felons who are denied the right to vote are no longer in prison.

My value for the round is democracy. By confining the round to a democratic society, the resolution implies that democracy should be valued. The value criterion is maximizing rights. A democracy is grounded in the fact that all citizens have equal rights under the law. When rights are violated, this degrades the democracy. The most important right in maintaining a democracy is the right to vote and participate in government. That is the fundamental principle of a democracy. As written by Steven Earl Bennett in the American Journal of Political Science, "the most fundamental criterion of a fully functioning democratic system is citizen participation." Therefore to ensure that we have a stable democracy we must maximize people's rights, especially the right to vote.

Contention One: By banning felons from voting, we set the stage for others to be disenfranchised as well. Felons are a unique part of society. Most felons are part of poor minority groups. They have unique experiences and a unique point of view. If we allow this minority group to be disenfranchised, what is to stop us from doing it to others? As Alexis Tocqueuille wrote in his book Democracy in America, "Once a people begins to interfere with the voting qualification, one can be sure that sooner or later it will abolish it all together." By denying felons the vote, we make it possible for other minority groups to be disenfranchised as well. This is bad because it can multiply to violate the rights of many more people. That goes against democratic values which are to maximize rights for everyone.

Contention Two: To ensure that rights are not violated, it is important to restore ex-felons the right to vote and to reintegrate them into society.
Sub point A: Ex-felons are trying to rejoin society. By denying them rights, we alienate them, making them more likely to commit another felony. As outlined in the Democracy Restoration Act of 2008, "allowing people to vote after release from prison encourages participation in civic life and helps rebuild ties to the community that motivate law-abiding behavior." Without the restoration of this right, ex-felons are more likely to commit another felony, violating the rights of other. Whether it is right to life property, or some other right, this hurts a democracy. This kind of violation of rights is bad and contributes to destabilizing a democracy.
Sub point B: By denying ex-felons the right to vote, we continue to violate their rights. Ex-felons have already served what courts deemed to be a just sentence and have already paid their debt. There is no reason to continue punishing them. As U.S. Senator Russ Feingold said, "For a nation that depends on the participation of its citizens, it is fundamentally un-American to deny the vote to people who are living and working as law abiding citizens. Furthermore, the more doors we close on people trying to rejoin society, the more likely it is we will drive them back to the behaviors we want them to leave behind." Ex-felons are hard working, newly law abiding citizens. By denying felons the vote, we not only violate their rights as a citizen but undermine our democracy.
In order to have a good democracy, we must maximize the rights of everyone, including felons and stripping ex-felons of the right to vote does not achieve this.

Contention Three: By banning felons from voting, we cripple our democracy. For a democracy to work all views must be taken into account. Felons belong to the group of lower class minorities that are least represented. If these groups do not cast many votes, they have little influence and it becomes likely their rights will be violated. In the American Journal of Political Science David Resnick writes, "Nonvoting is said to skew policy in the direction of participants because politicians and officials are under no compulsion to pay much heed to classes and groups of citizens that do not vote." Banning felons from voting quiets the voice of minorities with high percentages of felons. According to Resnick, this will make it unlikely that politicians will pay them much attention and more likely that politicians will violate their rights. This goes against what we strive for in a democracy, maximization of rights, and weakens the democracy as a whole.

For all these reasons, I affirm.
merlinator

Con

I accept my opponent's value of Democracy. A key note of democracy is majority rule. Large groups get more representation and therefore have more power. Felons are not a large group in the United States and therefore should be subject to the will of the non-felons.
Opponent's VC-Maximizing rights
This better fits the con side. Felons represent 1.6% of the population. By not voting the 98.4% of the non-felon population of the United States has more rights and there for the maximization of rights occurs. 98.4% vs. 1.6% who should get the rights.
My VC is rationality. If you stop, sit down, and think about what a felon is you will realize why they should not vote. Over half of felons are drug abusers. 49% of people in prison are there for a violent offence. They are generally less educated. These people are rapists, child molesters, drug lords, thieves, and murders. Do we really want these people to have a say about what goes on in this country.
I will first go over my opponents arguments then precede to my own.
C1.
My opponent said, "If we allow this minority group (felons) to be disenfranchised, what is to stop us from doing it to others?" This is a simple question; the Constitution. Amendment XIV specifically says states have the right to stop criminals from voting. The other Amendments also make it impossible for other minority groups to be disenfranchised. Disenfranchisement is not an issue.
C2.
The felons don't have a right to vote in states that don't allow it, and in order for any other rights to be violated; the rights of others besides felons would have to be violated as well. In America we have constitutional safeguards against this. Everyone is guaranteed basic rights in the United States.
A.Voting does not help felons re-enter society. 67.5% of all felons are sent back to prison within three years of their imprisonment (US Bureau of Justice Statistics). This rate is very consistent across all 50 states. There is no difference between states that let felons vote and states that don't. Voting has no impact on recidivism.
B.States have the right to restrict voters based on their criminal records (amendment XIV, section II) Again they made the choice, they knew the consequences, and now they have their voting rights rebuked. It's part of their sentence.
C3.
If you go back to my criterion by stopping felons from voting we are not crippling it we are strengthening it. There are 5.3 million felons that cannot vote. This is 5.3 million uneducated, drug addicted, parasites on society that we don't have to worry about screwing this country up. In order to have a strong democracy you need educated, people that are going to make the best choice for their country. Felons don't meet this requirement.
These are my random arguments against that don't rebuttal my opponent's contentions
1-Harm Principal/social contract
It is acceptable to restrict ones liberty when they have infringed on the rights of others. Being a citizen of the United States binds you to this social contract. If you break the laws you must suffer the consequences. Losing voting rights is one of these consequences.
2-Maintain Order
Because of their actions we know what criminals support. The question is do we want these morals reflected in our laws? By giving felons representation we are essentially giving them the power to make laws. This would result in a mess. What kind of laws are pedophiles going to try and push? What do you think drug addicts will want? This also can result with problems of political corruption.
For these reasons I negate
Debate Round No. 2
soccerkid411

Pro

soccerkid411 forfeited this round.
merlinator

Con

He forfeited the round therefore my attacks against his case stand and all my contentions stand
Debate Round No. 3
soccerkid411

Pro

soccerkid411 forfeited this round.
merlinator

Con

merlinator forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Atchison 8 years ago
Atchison
To soccerkid411- I saw that your a novice and i figured I might as well help you with your case a little. Overall a fairly good case. When debating in an actual tournement there are a few things you might want to add on. First off you should have a strong conclusion that sums up your case and restates your main points in your contentions. You also might want to add a criterion. This is a way of measuring if you value has worked. You might also want to work on attacking your opponents case. This is the most important part of debating.
Posted by SympathyForTheMartyr 8 years ago
SympathyForTheMartyr
Wow Skeptic, that was the most pointless comment I've ever read.
I had thought that this comment had no point,
But it does.
The point of this comment is to point out that the comment below has no point.
So basically the point of my comment was to point out the obvious...
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
Well you can fix your spelling typo in your resolution first.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Arcraetor 8 years ago
Arcraetor
soccerkid411merlinatorTied
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Vote Placed by shneezers 8 years ago
shneezers
soccerkid411merlinatorTied
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Vote Placed by soccerkid411 8 years ago
soccerkid411
soccerkid411merlinatorTied
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Total points awarded:70