The Instigator
LakevilleNorthJT
Pro (for)
Losing
48 Points
The Contender
flamingdebater
Con (against)
Winning
50 Points

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

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/5/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,719 times Debate No: 5278
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (15)

 

LakevilleNorthJT

Pro

I affirm. In a democratic society, felons ought to retain the right to vote.

I value democracy. This value is preferable because it is the most relevant on a resolutional scale. Any given society is better off under a full democracy. The Stanford Encyclopedia if Philosophy explains. "Two kinds of in instrumental benefits are commonly attributed to democracy: relatively good laws and policies and improvements in the characters of the participants. John Stuart Mill argued that a democratic method of making legislation is better than non-democratic methods in three ways: strategically, epistemically and via the improvement of the characters of democratic citizens (Mill, 1861, Chapter 3). Strategically, democracy has an advantage because it forces decision-makers to take into account the interests, rights and opinions of most people in society. Since democracy gives some political power to each, more people are taken into account than under aristocracy or monarchy. The most forceful contemporary statement of this instrumental argument is provided by Amartya Sen, who argues, for example, that "no substantial famine has ever occurred in any independent country with a democratic form of government and a relatively free press" (Sen 1999, 152). The basis of this argument is that politicians in a multiparty democracy with free elections and a free press have incentives to respond to the expressions of needs of the poor." Democracy is extremely beneficial and thus is the ultimate goal of any society.

The standard is individual agency. The main goal of a society is to assure each indviduals right to agency. If people could not make decisions then society would not exist and democracy could not exist. Violation of an individual's agencies are therefore baad. Any action denying an individual of his agency thus is also bad. My burden is to prove denying a felon the right to vote in a democratic society violates that felons agency.

1. Convictions may be wrong. This means that we are denying a felon of automatic right when he actually may not have commited the crime in the first place. A innocent person may lose a right guarenteed to them by democracy. This is a clear violation of the agency of the innocent individual.

2. Discrimination. In the United States, most of the inmates are black. This means that in society, blacks lose more rights than white. This is unfair and bias and is a violation of blacks autonomy.

3. By commiting a felony, convicts are being punished by being confined in jail. It is unfair to provide extra punishments and violates their autonomy.
flamingdebater

Con

I negate Resolved: In a democratic society, felons ought to retain the right to vote.

I will also value Democracy. However, I like to make the distiction between our conceptions of democracy. First, my opponent did not provide a definition of what a democracy actually is. There are many different forms of democracy, and since my opponent did not establish what form we are evaluating the resolution under I will set the parameters. I therefore value a Representative Democracy where guidlines are established to determine who is eligible to vote. Furthermore, under a Representative Democracy the " one vote for every person" rule does not apply. Officials and Elected Representatives and determined by voting citizens and these officials make laws and establish rules meant to perserve and protect the majority of their constituencies' best interests.

I reject my opponents value criteria of individual agency. Since I am providing the form of Democracy we are using I will argue that my opponents postulate that if people could not make decisions that society would not exist is false. Under a Representative Democracy, individuals hand over their power of making decisions to elected officials such as Senators, County Commisioners, and Governors, to make the decisions for them. Therefore, if these officials deem that felons voting are against the greater good's best interest then these officials have the right to prevent or ban them from doing so. My value criterion is Punitative Justice. In this case, Justice is defined as an action that prevents violations of the established rules of society and deters future violations of the system. If an individual grossly violates the legal system then, our elected officials and Judges have the right to take any action deemed apporpriate to prevent future criminals from also violating the system. I also deny my opponents claim to have a burden to prove that denying a felon the right to vote in a democratic society violates that felons agency.

Felons- A person who has commited a grave crime, such as murder, rape, or burglary, that is punishable by death or imprisonment in a state or federal facility. (American Heritage Dictionary)

Contention 1: A convicted Felon has commited gross violations of an established legal system and therefore relinquished any rights and privledges granted by that established system.

The United States Constitution states that all people only have three inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It also states that a person is only guarenteed these rights so long as they dont infrige on another person's rights. This has two implications:

1. That a felon is not granted his right of life or liberty so long as the state deems him a danger to the rights of other people in the state. Capital Punishment, and life imprisionment are obvious examples of this mentality. Also according to my definition of a felon, this person has already shown to be a violater of others rights to life and liberty and therefore they are no longer guarenteed these rights.

2. A felon is not guarenteed the "right" to vote in any elections according to the U.S. constitution an example of a Representative Democracy. Therefore any "right" to vote is actually a privledge established and granted by the state. Therefore, the state is entitled to revoke this priveledge as a punishment for violations of its established rules and regulations. Since felons have already commited grave violations of these established rules the state on principle is entitled to revoke these privledges to vote.

Turn my opponent first Contention that Convictions may be wrong. Under the negative framework, if an individual was deemed to have been falsely convicted the states retains the right to reinstate this falsely convicted felons' right to vote. The state may also enact reparations to make amends with the falsely convicted felons. Furthermore, the argument is turned because the affirmative world would remove the power of the state to enact a punishment that could prove to deter future felonies and protect itself from violations of its legal system.

Onto my opponents second Contention, Discrimination. First, I challenge my opponents justification that most of the inmates in the United States are black. He provides no statistics or evidence that confirms his statement. Second, I would argue that even if it were true, just because the majority of inmates are black doesnt mean his argument applies to the resolution at hand. A Felon is different from a person who has commited a misdeamnor. Since my opponent has provided no evidence, I will argue that the majority of black inmates are actually Misdeamnors. African-Americans are more likely to commit crimes such as pety theft, car hyjacking, and squatting. All of those crimes are merely misdeamnors and would not remove their privledge to vote in elections.

Next, to answer his last argument. By commiting a felony, an individual puts his rights and fate in the hands of the state. By violating the established contract between himself and the state, the state has the right to enact any and ALL punishments it deems appropriate to punish the individual and prevent him from commiting further crimes. Since, the felon has commited this crime, the state can provide the punishment of removing this extra privledge to prevent him from acting against the system again. Confining the individual in jail is not the punishment aspect since it is in theory meant to protect the state from the criminals actions. The removal of privledges is meant to DETER the criminal from commiting those future crimes.

Therefore, I urge you to vote in negation on Resolved: In a democratic society, felons ought to retain the right to vote.
Debate Round No. 1
LakevilleNorthJT

Pro

Value- My opponents claims his value is a representive democracy. He then argues that in this type of society the 1 vote per one person rule doesnt apply. i would argue that this is untrus. In order to be a true democracy, a society needs to have political equality menaing every person gets a vote. This is true under ALL democricies even representive ones.

Criterion- First, my opponent's value is defined wrong. In a representive democracy every person gets a vote. Second, officials are PEOPLE. Thus my argument about people not making decisions causing society to collapse still exists. "Therefore, if these officials deem that felons voting are against the greater good's best interest then these officials have the right to prevent or ban them from doing so. " The resolution does not state that this actually occurs. My opponents argument is conditional. Conditionality is bad because my opponent could win the round on a never heard of unimportant small example.

Contention One- Turn. The US is an oligarchy. This is true via the elite theory. This theory says that "Elite theory is a theory of the state which seeks to describe and explain the power relationships in modern society. It argues that a small minority, consisting of members of the economic elite and policy-planning networks, hold the most power no matter what happens in elections in a country. Through positions in corporations or on corporate boards, and influence over the policy-planning networks through financial support of foundations or positions with think tanks or policy-discussion groups, members of the "elite" are able to have significant power over policy decisions of corporations and governments." The US is influence by members of the elite and thus a oligarchy. Since my opponent fails to show why the US is a democracy you accept my conception. If my opponent argues against this he is arguing on a hypocritical level. This is because he argued the same when we were aarguing standards. Since the us is an oligarchy no evidence relating to the US goes away. THis means all my opponents warrants go away taking away his offense.

C1- Turn my opponents turn. These false convictions may not always be discovered.

C2- "Next, to answer his last argument. By commiting a felony, an individual puts his rights and fate in the hands of the state. By violating the established contract between himself and the state, the state has the right to enact any and ALL punishments it deems appropriate to punish the individual and prevent him from commiting further crimes. Since, the felon has commited this crime, the state can provide the punishment of removing this extra privledge to prevent him from acting against the system again. Confining the individual in jail is not the punishment aspect since it is in theory meant to protect the state from the criminals actions. The removal of privledges is meant to DETER the criminal from commiting those future crimes."

Under my opponents description of felon,people who will receive the death penalty are also included. If these felons are going to receive the death penalty, there is nothing to deter them from.

If all my arguments are denied and you buy the fact that the US is a democracy, you still affirm. This is because had felons been given the right to vote, Gore would have beaten Bush in Florida giving him the presidency. Felons would have saved our country from 8 years of suffering. A vote aff is a vote against bush.

Punitative Justice-
No link to democracy. I would argue that these said actions violate agency.
flamingdebater

Con

Ok I first will apologize that from here on out this debate most likely will get messy.

That being said, lets move on. Ill go Neg/Aff

Look to the Value Debate. What my opponent doesnt understand when I say that under a Representative Democracy the one vote per one person rule doesnt apply is that the difference between a Direct Democracy and a Representative one is that a Direct Democracy is merely the "will" of the majority. Citizens vote on all issues and elections and whoever maintains a majority wins. Under a Representative Democracy all eligible citizens vote for Representatives and officials to represent them in making political and government decisions. The easiest example is the U.S. House of Representatives. The Reps. are elected by groups of citizens in designated districts to decide for them policy decisions.

What that means is that My opponents analysis under my value is hereby invalid.

Criterion- To answer the officials are people argument. I would say thats true, but Officials are subjected to higher public scrutiny and are expected to have higher qualifications than ordinary people to make important policy decisions. This is a major distinction between the two forms of Democracy. Under a Representative Democracy, the officials who are elected under the one vote per person principle are more qualified than the voters who elected them. Thats why I say his argument about society collapsing doesnt exist, because under a Representative Democracy the actual decisions are being placed into the hands of a few more qualified and knowledgable people than the hands of the largely uninformed general public. Next, I would say my argument ISNT conditional. Since I am still taking about a form of Democracy, which by the way anyone who took the time to look at wikipedia couldve known about, my argument is still resolutional. Also, I am distiniguishing that these felons committed acts against the state and that under a Representative Democracy the officials have the right to prevent or ban them from voting.

Contention One- First let me turn my opponents's Conditionallity argument. He talks about elite theory. This is as my opponent puts it "a never heard of unimportant small example." But even if you dont accept that, I would argue that this theory is logically flawed. Regardless of how much influence a person has in a corporation or policy planning network an individual would be very hard pressed to move up in the public ranks without having voter approval. Take this primary season between Clinton and Obama. Clinton, who had the support of the party establishment and think tanks early on, was beaten by Obama, someone who didnt have that support but who had earned the respect of the voters. Furthermore, my opponent fails to cite a source that actually proves that the US is an Oligarchy. The United States is regarded by most scholars as being a Republic, or a Representative Democracy. Furthermore, even if you were to disregard all these arguments and exclude examples from the U.S. then you would have to disregard my opponents second contention. He states " In the United States, most of the inmates are black. This means that in society, blacks lose more rights than white. This is unfair and bias and is a violation of blacks autonomy. This would mean that his offense coming from his second contention would be disregarded.

Opponents Contention 1: Disregard my opponents' turn. If a false conviction is not discovered then it is a problem of the legal system in question. A punishment must exist to punish those that HAVE commited a crime. Also, this problem is non-unique to felon losing voting rights. Any person can be falsely convicted for any crime including felonies and Misdeamors. However, the state must have established punishments for the crimes that have been actually commited. Under my opponents world, these punishments would not exist because a small minority of cases have resulted in false convictions. I argue that this is horrible policy making, and on principle wrong.

My turn also is extended since only the negative world can enact these punishments to deter further felonies while including reparations for those that were falsely convicted.

Opponents Contention 3: His argument on Capital Punishment is conditional. It has little relevance because the majority of felonies do not result in the death penalty. Furthermore, He doesnt directly answer the argument that by commiting a felony, an individual puts his rights and fate in the hands of the state. By violating the established contract between himself and the state, the state has the right to enact any and ALL punishments it deems appropriate to punish the individual and prevent him from commiting further crimes. Since the argument itself is unresponded to you can extend my response. This actually turns his case since it shows that the state has that right to enact any and all punishments deemed Neccesary.

Lets look at his Bush vs. Gore argument. First off let me point out that I am a solid Democrat and that I live in Florida. Bush didnt win because felons couldnt vote. He won because when the first results were being called for Gore, Bush called his brother Jeb Bush, the Governor of Florida and asked him to help. Soon after, as a recount of the vote was called, Ballots started disappearing and hundreds were found on Interstate 95. I personally saw about 50 on I-75 on the Arvida Parkway (now Royal Palm Blvd.) exit. I ask that you disregard my opponent argument because he cant make a claim about the Florida vote in 2000 when he wasnt ACTUALLY there. I, on the other hand, have lived in Broward County, Florida since 1999.

After reviewing the actual facts, I urge you to vote in Negation on Resolved: In a democratic society, felon ought to retain the right to vote.
Debate Round No. 2
LakevilleNorthJT

Pro

LakevilleNorthJT forfeited this round.
flamingdebater

Con

Alright since my opponent forfeited his last round, I will provide some synthesis and crystalization for the round.

Weighing Structure:

Value- Representative Democracy, my opponent didnt respond to my analysis distinguishing between a Direct and a Representative Democracy, I also make the argument that under this value not everyone is guarenteed the right to vote

Criterion- Punitative Justice, since my opponent gives no weighing of issues on his criterion and most of the arguments in this debate revolve around my criterion I ask that the judges accept my Value Criterion as the legitimate and actual weighing machinism of the round, I extend my analysis answering his arguments on why my criterion is bad which effectively mitigates the criteria debate

Issues:

1. Extend the Turn on my Opponents Conditionality Argument, my opponent stated,"Conditionality is bad because my opponent could win the round on a never heard of unimportant small example." My opponent violated his own theory argument twice in this debate:

a) Elite Theory
b) Felons recieving the death penalty

As such, since I agree that this violation was bad for debate, I argue that you vote in negation to protect the integrity and fairness of debate

2. The only offense my opponent had in the second round was his first Contention, Extend my turn to his Contention One, because only the negative world can enact these punishments to deter further felonies while including reparations for those that were falsely convicted. This links directly to Punitative Justice because it provides the most protection of the established legal systems while providing deterence to future felonies and crimes.

Basically I can extend all the responses and arguments I made in the second round, but I dont have the time or the energy to do so. But hopefully the arguments I already extended are enough to win. I urge a Negative Vote on Resolved: In a democratic society, felons ought to retain the right to vote.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 3 years ago
Ore_Ele
LakevilleNorthJTflamingdebaterTied
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Vote Placed by Pluto2493 3 years ago
Pluto2493
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Vote Placed by m93samman 3 years ago
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