The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Prisoners should be allowed to vote

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/9/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 452 times Debate No: 98827
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)




Rules of debate:
1) If con chooses to post their first arguments in round 1, they must waive round 4 in order to keep the number of arguments even between us since I am not using round 1 for arguments.
2) No ad hominem or personal attacks/insults
3) No new arguments or evidence in last round(for con, it would be round 3 if they post arguments in round 1, if not, then it's round 4. For me, it's round 4 regardless)

Violation of any of the above rules means that voters, when voting for the point for conduct, should vote for the other person who did not violate the above rules, or did so less than their opponent. I do report votes if there is not enough RFD, and if voters do not vote for the other person when one person violated one of these rules, it will be reported if there's not enough RFD

I don't see a need to define any terms, as these terms should be all accepted to mean the same thing. If con sees a need to define these terms, we will do so in comments.


I accept. I'll post an argument in round 4 instead of round 1.
Debate Round No. 1



Now, I will point out that it has been declared constitutional for states to disenfranchise felons in the supreme court case Richardson v. Ramirez[1] so here I will not be presenting any legal reasons why felons should be allowed to vote, as the legal reasons show that they can't. Instead, I will focus on explaining why this ruling is wrong.

Not every felon has committed a terrible crime.

In many states, it is considered a felony to possess a certain amount of marijuana[2]. Thus, also in these states, your voting rights can be taken away just because you have marijuana. I think that since many states are now legalizing marijuana, and a majority(53%) support marijuana legalization [3] with that number rising every year, it is safe to say that people are beginning to realize that marijuana use or possession is not a crime.

Since marijuana possession, I consider, a lesser crime than say murder or theft, why should all felons have their voting rights taken away? Some didn't do anything that really harms others. I imagine there are other "felonies" that most people would agree are not actually that major of a crime, yet they are felonies and they would prevent you from being able to vote in basically every state.

In addition, some estimate that at least 10% of convicts are innocent of their crime and wrongly placed in prison.[5] Why should these people be denied their right to vote just because the other 90% of prisoners did commit a terrible crime? I consider it a worse problem to deny 10 innocent people the right to vote, than to allow 90 felons the right to vote. While it seems like it's proper to deny a murderer or another felon the right to vote, I'll explain in my next point why this is flawed as well.

Laws are based off of what seems moral and immoral

Since laws are based off of what seems moral and immoral, and there is tons of evidence to suggest that morals are subjective[4], why should criminals have their voting rights stripped away over something that is subjectively wrong? Even murder is subjectively wrong, as many cultures consider murder okay in some circumstances that America or other nations would consider immoral[4]. Since I believe laws are supposed to reflect what society deems what is moral, shouldn't criminals still have a say over such laws? Prisoners are still part of society, albeit they are put somewhere they can no longer harm others, but they still are part of society, they are just separate from most people in society.

Just imagine one day that society deems it morally justifiable to murder someone in a specific circumstance, however the law is lagging a little behind society. Then what begins to happen is a massive influx of prisoners will occur as more and more people are murdering under those circumstances, and more and more people are being denied a right to vote. This makes it impossible to change the law, even if majority of people want to make it legal to murder in that instance, and it’s considered moral to do so, but the law can never be changed because people are constantly being thrown in prison. Now, perhaps my opponent will say there is good reason to have murder under all circumstances to be illegal, so it should never change, but if majority of society agrees it is moral, why should there be a law against it? In addition, it is merely my opponent’s subjective opinion that murder would be wrong in that instance, so what makes their subjective opinion better than others’? This is all hypothetical of course, I don’t know if my opponent would have brought this point up, but I rebutted it in case they would.

Since murder is universally agreed upon in our society to be wrong, perhaps we can go back to the the marijuana usage argument to get my point across better, if it seemed my murder example was weak. Most people believe marijuana usage is morally okay, now imagine if a majority of people who believe marijuana usage should be legal are thrown in prison because they, themselves, use marijuana. The law can thus never change, even though marijuana usage is seen as moral by society, because people are getting their voting rights taken away. This can apply to any action that changes to be moral by society's view.

I will leave my argument at this for now.







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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
I'm working on my arguments. Due to unforeseen circumstances where my laptop is having technical issues, I have limited access to a computer. I'm currently typing this with my phone, and I find it's not very easy to do an argument on a phone, so I will wait until I have access to a computer. Tomorrow I should be able to post something. In addition to these laptop problems, I have a test tomorrow in my class and I work too so, much of my time is taken up by that. I promise I should have my argument up in the next 24 hours though.
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