The Instigator
caseyuer
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Erik_Erikson
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Released Felons Should Be Allowed To Vote.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/2/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,234 times Debate No: 24959
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

caseyuer

Pro

Thank you to the person who accepts this debate. I wish you luck and hopefully one of us will be able to convince the other.

Felony disenfranchisement or in simpler terms – denying the right of a felon to vote, has been a long practiced throughout many parts of the world. People who agree with this say that the felon in question has broken their 'social contract' with society and therefore should not be allowed to vote.

First off we have to consider the people who this law affects. Many people get convicted in high school of minor crimes that still fall under the heading of a felony. An example of this would being stealing street signs. Then many years later that person who by now has presumably learned their lesson and paid their debt to society wants to take part in one of the greatest and most important acts they will ever do - voting. But because of their past crimes they will be denied their right to do so.

What if someone is convicted for a crime like drug possession, but they and many other people think that it shouldn't be a crime. Because of laws that prohibit them from voting you are denying perhaps their only way to disagree with the system that got them in trouble in the first place.

It is because of examples like the ones above that Felony disenfranchisement falls under the category of 'cruel and unusual punishment'.

We have prison sentences and fines handed out by the courts for a reason, which is to pay your debt to society. To add onto this by denying people the right to vote, by saying because of something that you did in your past and now regret you will never be allowed to vote again is heinous.
Erik_Erikson

Con

Thank you, Caseyuer, for posting this debate. I feel this is a topic that I can argue persuasively and, at the very least, a pleasure to compete with another new member.

I would flip your statements on you. Felony disenfranchisement is a necessary evil to provide us with a just society. Roger Clegg, of the General Counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity wrote, "We don't let children vote, for instance, or noncitizens, or the mentally incompetent. Why? Because we don't trust them and their judgement. [...] so the question is, do criminals belong in that category? And I think the answer is clearly yes. People who commit serious crimes have shown that they are not trustworthy."

While there might exist special circumstances that might be deemed unjust; there are just as many examples of felons who express a pathological hatred for justice.

The episode I provide, produced by gonzo documentarian Louis Theroux, gives insight into the thought processes of prisoners who are currently moving through the justice system. Technically, the people contained have the right to vote. Already, a majority of them have a sense of sudo-honor, a vigor for throwing "piss-bombs" and public masturbation (usually pointed at female guards).

Members of the public can reasonably come to the conclusion that these people would not vote in favor of the public good. Instead, they would vote, lobby and manipulate our judicial and election system to their own corrupt means. And these inmates depicted are FIRST time offenders.

You point out that former felons could possibly be in these circumstances because society has not given them the opportunity to give their opinions. While this sounds like a good point, you could also say the reverse. In that if you give them the capacity to vote their opinions to the legislative branch, you would have a chunk of society who would be in a state of permanent dissent.

That, being said, I hold a similar premise to the voters of Massachusetts in 2000. In one of the most liberal states in the country, they collectively voted to bar inmates from voting. This showed, even in liberal circles, that public opinion is against serious lawbreakers from electing representatives.

My final point regards the constitutionality of barring voting rights. I acknowledge that the eighth amendment bars excessive sanctions and demands that punishment be to the scale of the crime. However, this amendment is ultimately refuted by the following particulars of the constitution:

*Article 1, Sec. 4;

*Section Five of the Fourteenth Amendment, and

*Section Two of the Fifteenth Amendment.

Overall, this legislation provide states the right to strip criminals of their voting rights. So, because of the examples I've provided, Felony disenfranchisement falls under the category of just punishment.

Vote Con

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
caseyuer

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate and posting a timely response.

Also thank you for the link to the documentary, I watched it (parts one and two) and found it very insightful and although it did reinforce a few of the points you made I do find it disturbing that you are willing to form opinions off the basis of one documentary showing one situation.

The people in that documentary are pre-trial, meaning that despite the fact that many have been there for years they have not yet served their debt to society. The purpose of being sentenced and serving time in prison is to over come these issues that they have dealing with normal members of society. Is it true that many of these felons will be released with the same immaturity shown here? Absolutely, but more than anything this points to a flaw in our justice system and our ability to rehabilitate our citizens. This is not grounds for denying them the right to vote.

You also said that we do not let children vote. This is true and we do this for very good reasons. But we do let them vote when they no longer are classified as children. This is similar to having been released from prison. Upon serving your sentence it is assumed that you have taken the time in prison to think about your mistakes and learn from them, which is very similar to a child turning eighteen. After serving in prison you are supposed to be released and join society. Part of this means taking on the responsibility's that children face when turning into adults, including the responsibility of voting.

Another point you made was that released inmates would 'manipulate our judicial and election system to their own corrupt means'. By saying this you are bringing up a point you had made earlier about felons having a 'pathological hatred for justice' which is simply not true. The majority of inmates do not 'hate' justice. When released many felons become one hundred percent normal citizens, with political opinions formed similar to the way that you and I form ours. And another point to be made about them 'manipulating' the justice system is that it would be virtually impossible. Released felons account for somewhere around two percent of the United States, so even if all of them had this hatred for justice that you mentioned (which they don't) it would simply not make a dent in our elections.

My final point for this round is I think my most important. One of the ideals that this country was founded on was 'No taxation without representation'. Upon being released from prison, felons are supposed to incorporate themselves into society, find a job, and pay taxes. One of the reasons that slogan exists is so the citizens could have a say as to where their tax dollars were being directed. Taxing felons and denying them this right is unconstitutional and immoral.

There are many people in the United States who did some regrettable act when they were young, served time and upon being released found a job, and for dozens of years have been respectable members of society including paying their taxes. Should we deny them their right to vote upon some stupid thing they did that long ago?
Erik_Erikson

Con

In ordor to better form a flowing argument, I will boldface quotations from previous arguments and leave a line "---" to clarify a natural pause. If readers can recommend a better way to quote previous arguments then please leave a comment explaining the technicalities or a guide that details this.

---

"Thank you for the link to the documentary, I watched it (parts one and two) and found it very insightful and although it did reinforce a few of the points you made I do find it disturbing that you are willing to form opinions off the basis of one documentary showing one situation."


This video is the most recent, valid source I could find of people that showed a mentality that fundamentally opposed organized law. Whats more--A lot of these men were unconvinced, thus they still, technically, retained the right to vote. Citing this video was a way for me to express the prison culture of violence that is embedded into the minds of many ex-felons.

Overall, There are many reasons for me formulating this opinion. This video does not encapsulate my entire morality foundations. Also, personal rational is not on debate. The legitamacy of stripping felons of their rights is the topic of this debate.

---

"The people in that documentary are pre-trial, meaning that despite the fact that many have been there for years they have not yet served their debt to society. The purpose of being sentenced and serving time in prison is to over come these issues that they have dealing with normal members of society. Is it true that many of these felons will be released with the same immaturity shown here? Absolutely, but more than anything this points to a flaw in our justice system and our ability to rehabilitate our citizens. This is not grounds for denying them the right to vote."


I cited grounds for denying them voting rights in my previous argument:

*Article 1, Sec. 4;

*Section Five of the Fourteenth Amendment, and

*Section Two of the Fifteenth Amendment.

These are cited example in our legal code which enable states to strip citizens of their voting rights. I would flip your argument on it's face.

It is more immoral to strip states of their rights, which are documented on the books at the federal level
then it is to strip citizens of their voting rights. I'm sure there are judges out there that calculate the stripping of these rights into their final judgment. (Example: A judge sentencing a felon to 35 years in prison, and later being stripped of their voting rights rather then a more sever length of sentence with retained voting rights.)

If Felons object to a lose in voting rights in that state, then they should move to another state that allows them to vote. Nobody is demanding that they stay; As long as it doesn't break their probation.

There is a historic president for this. After the Civil War, many confederates left the southern states for the Great American Southwest. There, these traitors could remake themselves, elect representatives and build a society they wanted.

---

"You also said that we do not let children vote. This is true and we do this for very good reasons. But we do let them vote when they no longer are classified as children. This is similar to having been released from prison. Upon serving your sentence it is assumed that you have taken the time in prison to think about your mistakes and learn from them, which is very similar to a child turning eighteen. After serving in prison you are supposed to be released and join society. Part of this means taking on the responsibility's that children face when turning into adults, including the responsibility of voting."


You claim to care about children growing up and conducting themselves in a democracy. Wouldn't this contradict your account on the rights of citizens to retain full rights after they ‘serve' their time in jail?

Rational: How do you feel about pedophiles rights? Is a judge saying, "We need you to stay away from children" outside his sentencing procedure? You can see the necessity in keeping pedophiles away from Middle Schools and Elementary Schools, right? But, in your legal system, a judge would not be allowed to do that. That sort of bias against pedophiles would be unconstitutional by your standards.

And, as a reminder, it is constitutional to strip felons of their voting rights according to the article and two amendments I cited in my earlier argument:

*Article 1, Sec. 4;

*Section Five of the Fourteenth Amendment, and

*Section Two of the Fifteenth Amendment.

---

"Another point you made was that released inmates would 'manipulate our judicial and election system to their own corrupt means'. By saying this you are bringing up a point you had made earlier about felons having a 'pathological hatred for justice' which is simply not true. The majority of inmates do not 'hate' justice. When released many felons become one hundred percent normal citizens, with political opinions formed similar to the way that you and I form ours. And another point to be made about them 'manipulating' the justice system is that it would be virtually impossible. Released felons account for somewhere around two percent of the United States, so even if all of them had this hatred for justice that you mentioned (which they don't) it would simply not make a dent in our elections."

The fact that felons, as you admitted, account for two percent of the United States population just means that the stripping of voting rights is good deterrent for people to not commit crime. You said that the majority of inmates do not "‘hate'" justice, but you have nothing to cite otherwise.

---

"My final point for this round is I think my most important. One of the ideals that this country was founded on was 'No taxation without representation'. Upon being released from prison, felons are supposed to incorporate themselves into society, find a job, and pay taxes. One of the reasons that slogan exists is so the citizens could have a say as to where their tax dollars were being directed. Taxing felons and denying them this right is unconstitutional and immoral."


Why should the American tax payer pay for the incarceration of these felons, but then be on an even keel with them when they are released. I say that you are the one trying to strip people of their rights. You are the one advocating the stripping of states rights, as guaranteed by the constitution, but then asking them to catch the bill of these felons. That is the true definition of taxation without representation.

---

"There are many people in the United States who did some regrettable act when they were young, served time and upon being released found a job, and for dozens of years have been respectable members of society including paying their taxes. Should we deny them their right to vote upon some stupid thing they did that long ago?
"

Yes. We should deny them their vote.

A vote in favor of felons voting rights is a vote against taxpayers and state rights as guaranteed by:

*Article 1, Sec. 4;

*Section Five of the Fourteenth Amendment, and

*Section Two of the Fifteenth Amendment.

Vote Con.

Thankyou, and Jesus bless America.
Debate Round No. 2
caseyuer

Pro

caseyuer forfeited this round.
Erik_Erikson

Con

In ordor to better form a flowing argument, I will boldface quotations from previous arguments and leave a line "---" to clarify a natural pause. If readers can recommend a better way to quote previous arguments then please leave a comment explaining the technicalities or a guide that details this.

---

"Thank you for the link to the documentary, I watched it (parts one and two) and found it very insightful and although it did reinforce a few of the points you made I do find it disturbing that you are willing to form opinions off the basis of one documentary showing one situation."


This video is the most recent, valid source I could find of people that showed a mentality that fundamentally opposed organized law. Whats more--A lot of these men were unconvinced, thus they still, technically, retained the right to vote. Citing this video was a way for me to express the prison culture of violence that is embedded into the minds of many ex-felons.

Overall, There are many reasons for me formulating this opinion. This video does not encapsulate my entire morality foundations. Also, personal rational is not on debate. The legitamacy of stripping felons of their rights is the topic of this debate.

---

"The people in that documentary are pre-trial, meaning that despite the fact that many have been there for years they have not yet served their debt to society. The purpose of being sentenced and serving time in prison is to over come these issues that they have dealing with normal members of society. Is it true that many of these felons will be released with the same immaturity shown here? Absolutely, but more than anything this points to a flaw in our justice system and our ability to rehabilitate our citizens. This is not grounds for denying them the right to vote."


I cited grounds for denying them voting rights in my previous argument:

*Article 1, Sec. 4;

*Section Five of the Fourteenth Amendment, and

*Section Two of the Fifteenth Amendment.

These are cited example in our legal code which enable states to strip citizens of their voting rights. I would flip your argument on it's face.

It is more immoral to strip states of their rights, which are documented on the books at the federal level
then it is to strip citizens of their voting rights. I'm sure there are judges out there that calculate the stripping of these rights into their final judgment. (Example: A judge sentencing a felon to 35 years in prison, and later being stripped of their voting rights rather then a more sever length of sentence with retained voting rights.)

If Felons object to a lose in voting rights in that state, then they should move to another state that allows them to vote. Nobody is demanding that they stay; As long as it doesn't break their probation.

There is a historic president for this. After the Civil War, many confederates left the southern states for the Great American Southwest. There, these traitors could remake themselves, elect representatives and build a society they wanted.

---

"You also said that we do not let children vote. This is true and we do this for very good reasons. But we do let them vote when they no longer are classified as children. This is similar to having been released from prison. Upon serving your sentence it is assumed that you have taken the time in prison to think about your mistakes and learn from them, which is very similar to a child turning eighteen. After serving in prison you are supposed to be released and join society. Part of this means taking on the responsibility's that children face when turning into adults, including the responsibility of voting."


You claim to care about children growing up and conducting themselves in a democracy. Wouldn't this contradict your account on the rights of citizens to retain full rights after they ‘serve' their time in jail?

Rational: How do you feel about pedophiles rights? Is a judge saying, "We need you to stay away from children" outside his sentencing procedure? You can see the necessity in keeping pedophiles away from Middle Schools and Elementary Schools, right? But, in your legal system, a judge would not be allowed to do that. That sort of bias against pedophiles would be unconstitutional by your standards.

And, as a reminder, it is constitutional to strip felons of their voting rights according to the article and two amendments I cited in my earlier argument:

*Article 1, Sec. 4;

*Section Five of the Fourteenth Amendment, and

*Section Two of the Fifteenth Amendment.

---

"Another point you made was that released inmates would 'manipulate our judicial and election system to their own corrupt means'. By saying this you are bringing up a point you had made earlier about felons having a 'pathological hatred for justice' which is simply not true. The majority of inmates do not 'hate' justice. When released many felons become one hundred percent normal citizens, with political opinions formed similar to the way that you and I form ours. And another point to be made about them 'manipulating' the justice system is that it would be virtually impossible. Released felons account for somewhere around two percent of the United States, so even if all of them had this hatred for justice that you mentioned (which they don't) it would simply not make a dent in our elections."

The fact that felons, as you admitted, account for two percent of the United States population just means that the stripping of voting rights is good deterrent for people to not commit crime. You said that the majority of inmates do not "‘hate'" justice, but you have nothing to cite otherwise.

---

"My final point for this round is I think my most important. One of the ideals that this country was founded on was 'No taxation without representation'. Upon being released from prison, felons are supposed to incorporate themselves into society, find a job, and pay taxes. One of the reasons that slogan exists is so the citizens could have a say as to where their tax dollars were being directed. Taxing felons and denying them this right is unconstitutional and immoral."


Why should the American tax payer pay for the incarceration of these felons, but then be on an even keel with them when they are released. I say that you are the one trying to strip people of their rights. You are the one advocating the stripping of states rights, as guaranteed by the constitution, but then asking them to catch the bill of these felons. That is the true definition of taxation without representation.

---

"There are many people in the United States who did some regrettable act when they were young, served time and upon being released found a job, and for dozens of years have been respectable members of society including paying their taxes. Should we deny them their right to vote upon some stupid thing they did that long ago?
"

Yes. We should deny them their vote.

A vote in favor of felons voting rights is a vote against taxpayers and state rights as guaranteed by:

*Article 1, Sec. 4;

*Section Five of the Fourteenth Amendment, and

*Section Two of the Fifteenth Amendment.

Vote Con.

Thankyou, and Jesus bless America.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Erik_Erikson 4 years ago
Erik_Erikson
"Libertarian Market Policy Allocates Resources Effectively"?
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
What resolution were you thinking about debating in regard to Libertarianism or Austrian Economics?
Posted by Erik_Erikson 4 years ago
Erik_Erikson
If you need me, I'll be at the GAY BAR; WOOOOOOOOOooooo!
No votes have been placed for this debate.