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Welfare Recepients Should Not Be Allowed to Vote

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/28/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,046 times Debate No: 95045
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
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This debate will center around if the Right to Vote Should be extended towards those citizens who are currently receiving financial assistance from the public, also called as welfare.

I will be taking the position that they should not be allowed to vote.

This debate shall not be about the legitimacy of the welfare system (i.e. whether or not welfare works) or proposing improvements upon the current welfare system. This is simply discussing whether or not those citizens who are dependent upon the welfare system should be allowed to vote.

This debate will consist of five rounds:

1) Opening statements. (Introduce your position)
2) First arguments. (Provide either reasoned arguments or sourced evidenced for your position)
3) Rebuttals. (Refute the opposing arguments).
4) Revised Arguments (Elaborate upon your original argument, refute the rebuttals, and/or propose solutions to problems posed by rebuttals in opposition's argument)
5) Closing Statements (Reintroduce your position and provide any elaborations upon it)

Opening Statemet:

Many modern States are Republics, meaning that after a predetermined number of years, the citizens of this State gather to cast their votes in order to elect the most fit candidate to assume office. Many modern States have also developed welfare systems designed to provide financial aide to those citizens who are, for whatever reasons, not providing for themselves. In order to prevent the exchange of votes for a greater income from welfare, which amounts essentially to the purchasing of votes, those citizens who are dependent upon aide from public coffers should be denied the Right to Vote for as long as they are dependent.



Since you never specified and I live within England I'm going to debate within the context of the UK.

I really don't see a massive problem as to why people on welfare benefits shouldn't vote - this is a democracy after all. So I'm going to argue in favour of people on welfare benefits should on their own free will be allowed to vote.
Debate Round No. 1


Hello. Thanks for taking the opposing side.

It doesn't really matter whether we are discussing American welfare or British welfare, just simply the issue of whether or not those individuals on welfare should be allowed to vote.

The primary worry is that their votes are essentially purchased. Either to those politicians who promise an increase to the amount of welfare, or against those politicians who campaign on trying to eliminate the welfare system.
It should be noted that as that they do receive welfare, even if they pay a tax upon their personal income earned from some employment, the tax money is reimbursed to them in the money coming from the welfare check.
So, the primary issue with welfare recipients being allowed to vote in elections is, in the words of one of the greater Englishmen of the 19th Century, John Stuart Mill, "Those who pay no taxes, disposing by their votes of other people's money, have every motive to be lavish, and none to economize. As far as money maters are concerned, any power of voting possessed by them is a violation of the fundamental principle of free government; a severance of the power of control, from the interest in its beneficial exercise. It amounts to allowing them to put their hands into other people's pockets, for any purpose which they think fit to call a public one; which in some of the great towns of the United States is known to have produced a scale of local taxation onerous beyond example, and wholly borne by the wealthier classes." (This quote can be found in Considerations on Representative Government, Chapter 8, The Extension of Suffrage).

People tend to vote for that which is most beneficial towards themselves. Look how many people straddled with student loan debt rallied around former contender for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States, Bernie Sanders. On the other side of the spectrum, those people who's jobs were lost when their employers moved production facilities overseas, their rallied behind now Republican nominee, Donald Trump. I am not calling any of these people selfish or lazy or xenophobic or any other such nonsense spewed by American media (I would have no idea how them media is for you all across the pond), but I merely point this out on how people vote based upon their particular circumstances. Essentially, their votes were purchased.

Those people who do pay taxes have proven that they have produced for society, paid into society, and hence have invested in society, and likewise the running of their government. Those individuals who receive public financial support from the public coffers, when that support is either the entirety of their income or greater than the taxes that they otherwise pay (which is most reasonable. It would make little sense for society to offer financial support to some one only to then demand that money and more back), and this public support is not due to past services rendered, these individuals have not invested into society. In fact, they make an income off the good nature of a productive and wealthy society. This income, being freely given and since the recipient of the welfare is by no means expected to repay the amount given to him, is taken from the public coffers.

If recipients of welfare vote to elect officials and legislators, much like the Sanders supporters and those that got Trump nominated, will vote for that candidate or bill which most benefits themselves. However, unlike the Sanders supporters, many of whom still produce for society and may very well be the victims of usury by the banks which loaned to them, or the Trump supporters, who produced for society until they were turned out by their employers and abandoned by elected officials in Washington (and I believe, but not entirely sure, that similar problems have befallen your countrymen in the UK), recipients of welfare do not produce for society nor are they victims of the malevolence of those more powerful members of society. In fact, they are the beneficiaries of the good-will of more powerful members of society. To allow them to vote is to allow them the ability to abuse that good-will to increase their income. Essentially, their votes will only go towards those politicians who, whether for truly altruistic reasons or ulterior motives, promise to increase the amount in the welfare check. In turn, this will not only burden the very wealthy, but this will also become a burden upon all individuals who pay an income tax and are not receiving welfare from the state. The income of all working men will decrease which could very well drive more people to enroll in various welfare programs, thus increasing the amount the state must spend on such programs which will lead again to further increases in taxation upon all who pay an income tax.

In the United States, the Democrat Party is the one which is most associated with welfare, while the Republicans are usually against it.
The following link has a breakdown of how recipients of various public assistance programs tend to vote.

(I am not sure of the numbers in Britain and would be delighted if you would provide a link or a figure)

Again, thanks for accepting the debate and I apologize for the 2 day wait.


There's quite a lot of flaws with your argument. But for my opening one I will introduce how many people are on benefits.

Up to 64% of families receive welfare benefits from the state and for 30.3% of them welfare takes up half their income. This is a massive amount of the population around half of the population telling them they can't vote because of what the government is quite contradictory ruling them out goes against the very definition of democracy. Also then anyone who has any child can't vote because they're given welfare benefits to help them with the child this rules out a major portion of the country that makes our next generation comparing them to criminals and serial killers goes against the human rights convention.

The second part of my argument will be that at every general election each party tries to appeal to the population. Conservatives who're the more right wing party try to appeal to the older generation and Labour party the young. Meaning that every party tries to convince some groups to vote for them. If the Conservatives try to appeal less to welfare benefits recipients and more to right wing voters then that will be part of their campaign as they will advertise for that meaning more right wing voters will vote for them but vice versa and less welfare benefits voters will vote for Conservatives. Yet Conservatives can still appeal to welfare recipients it entirely depends. So it doesn't make any logical reasoning to exclude a group because it doesn't appeal to one party. The majority of right wing voters will vote for conservatives but that doesn't mean we should ban them from voting.

Its also like saying if one party advertises to raise minimum wage we should ban all of the working class from voting because more of them will vote for that party.

Overall as each party tries to appeal to each group the majority of that group will vote for that party like for the welfare recipients that's what's politics is all about.
Debate Round No. 2


First, I should like to address how in the United Kingdom people with children receive funding from the State simply for having children. I did not know this, and I also do not think this should count as economic welfare. From your rhetoric I understand that this applies to all people in Great Britain, and so this should not qualify as money given by the State for charitable reasons. Economic welfare, as I said in my argument, is aimed at providing financial support for those persons who are are not (or cannot) supporting themselves. If this is aide for having children is given to all persons in Britain who have children, then it is not support for those who cannot support themselves. Instead, it should be considered a payment for services rendered (as you say, they are rearing the next generation of citizens) and, although it may go by the name of welfare, or be handled by the same department which handles welfare, it should not be considered as such. It should instead be considered equivalent to payments given to all others who have rendered services to the government or society, no different than allowances given to veterans or stipends for retired public servants.

It is very true that all parties, when seeking office, try to appeal to their respective voting base and those who would most benefit from their issues. As I said, people tend to vote for that which most benefits themselves. Of course not all individuals who are recipients of welfare are corrupt, or "criminals", but indeed there are some who are slothful and selfish. In the United States, for example, there are entire families who have been living on public assistance for generations.

I do not try to paint all welfare recipients as such, I merely demonstrate that in fact, there are recipients who are this way.
Now, as candidates and parties seeking to win elections will always appeal to the base most likely to vote for them, then this will betray the very values upon which all post-Revolutionary Era democracies are built upon. By advocating for increases in welfare, whether slight or substantial, those slothful and selfish members of any society, who actively seek out handouts, will of course vote in favor of these increases. Indeed, in theory they should be countered by those other welfare recipients who have simply fallen upon tough times and need the help of society. However, those persons who simply need help may be forced to vote for those advocating for increased welfare income, regardless of that candidate's other platforms. This depends upon the circumstances which they are in and, for many on welfare, their circumstances are never stable and good. Their votes are then purchased not because of their greed, but because of their dire need. So for example, if a candidate running for office runs on a platform of waging unnecessary wars, or has a previous record of trying to remove liberties from the people, this candidate can be sure of the greater portion of welfare voters votes simply by promising them an increase. Those poor individuals who vote out of necessity may very well despise the candidate they vote for, but to vote otherwise is to bring harm upon themselves.

By not allowing the recipients of public assistance to vote, society prevents candidates from peddling expensive increases to them. These people will not be without welfare checks, for it is only a decadent and truly depraved society which would seek to prevent the charity of the welfare system. Such decadent societies, once they become so, do not last very long until they collapse. However, by allowing welfare recipients to vote, they will (as a collective bloc, not necessarily individually) swing towards whichever candidate promises them an increase, regardless of his/her other platforms.


It is economic welfare and counts within it. The government itself calls them that and if you see the link it is counted under it which is why family benefits rate are so high. It does not apply to all people within the UK. It just applies to people who have children exactly the same as people who're disabled receive benefits. That is partially incorrect welfare benefits are to help people they're not always just for people who cannot work at all. And it is considered as such by all authorities in Britain it is fact that families that have babies receive benefits thus they're welfare recipients. This is just how it works here. It may work differently in the USA but not in Britain.

It is estimated currently through investigations carried out that "Under 1% of workless households might have two generations who have never worked " about 15,000 households in the UK. Families with three such generations will therefore be even fewer." Both our evidence may be true as we live in different countries. But it still shows that welfare recipients should vote as just a negligible minority take advantage of the system.
"Now, as candidates and parties seeking to win elections will always appeal to the base most likely to vote for them, then this will betray the very values upon which all post-Revolutionary Era democracies are built upon"
Doesn't make any sense. Every party makes policies. These policies will appeal to a group/groups. These groups will be more likely to vote for them. This does not betray any values. These groups can still refuse to vote for them and no matter what a party does its policies will still appeal to groups even if they didn't mean them.

" So for example, if a candidate running for office runs on a platform of waging unnecessary wars, or has a previous record of trying to remove liberties from the people, this candidate can be sure of the greater portion of welfare voters votes simply by promising them an increase. Those poor individuals who vote out of necessity may very well despise the candidate they vote for, but to vote otherwise is to bring harm upon themselves."
This happens with every single group. Black people, working class, gay people, upper class etc etc. They may all vote out of necessity and still despise the person they vote for as to vote for the opposite may bring ruin upon them. That does not mean we should ban them for voting. Your logic does not make much sense in this regard.

"By not allowing the recipients of public assistance to vote, society prevents candidates from peddling expensive increases to them. "
Again a complete lack of logic. You could say the same for working class "ban working class because they vote for people who raise minimum wage" and also "ban upper class because they want to get rid of mansion tax and inheritance tax".

"However, by allowing welfare recipients to vote, they will (as a collective bloc, not necessarily individually) swing towards whichever candidate promises them an increase, regardless of his/her other platforms."
Same with every other group and I also explained this before. As a countermeasure for this more right wing people will vote for the party that does it. You're not asking to ban them are you?
Debate Round No. 3


The issue of families choosing to remain unemployed for generations may very well be an American phenomenon, but it is truly a symptom of a failing in the welfare system. The point of welfare is to help people get back up on their feet, being a safety net which is meant to help those who use it no longer need it. Because so many families in the US have been on welfare and have voted in their interests (again, either out of greed or necessity), they have been able to continue to abuse the charity of the public in order to live decadent (albeit not lavish) lifestyles. What need does one have to seek employment or develop a skill if he need only vote once every few years to increase his paycheck? Although this does not permeate among the majority of recipients, it spreads among them, like a bystander effect. People most often take the path of least resistance, and so their votes will often go to the increasing of their monthly income. The more they are able to do with that income, the less inclined they will be to work. Thus they will not contribute anything back to society, but merely benefit fro the contributions of those around them.

Of course "every party makes policies", and sometimes those policies are detrimental to the public. For example, in the 1930's the American Democrats adopted the position of increasing welfare, which brought many poor Americans into their ranks. This was the same party who supported segregation laws and the KKK; now that party expanded their authority by promising welfare in exchange for votes. This could be done very easily today, in which a party which holds authoritarian platforms promising a great expansion to welfare benefits in order to get as many votes as possible to augment those other voters who will (or think they will) benefit from authoritarian measures. This has been done by many Socialist states. Although many times the money collected for the good of the recipients is redirected towards other projects, the promise is still exchanged for votes. The irony is not lost upon me in quoting Karl Marx: "In order to arouse sympathy the aristocracy was obliged to lose sight, apparently, of its own interests and to formulate and indictment against the bourgeoisie in the interest of the working class alone." Since the aristocracy was not going to completely abandon its own good, as Marx tries to imply, they will merely collaborate with the lower classes in order to regain some of its old power. The same thing, although not a nefarious, occurs when welfare recipients go to vote out of their own interests. They often vote for an expanded State and a reduction of liberties because of a promise of increased income for in exchange for a ballot. The increase in taxes upon the majority of society, or the increased regulations placed upon laborers, stockholders, and landowners does not affect the beneficiary of public assistance, as that he/she fits into none of these and pays no taxes, thus does not suffer the negative consequences of an expanded state.

This brings me to the most amusing of your rebuttals. You commonly accuse me of a "complete lack of logic", but put on for display a logical fallacy of false equivalency many time. Indeed, many candidates for office pander to various demographics, such as "black people, working class, gay people, upper class etc", but none of these demographics is at all dependent upon the good will of the State. The welfare recipient is entirely dependent upon the goodwill of the state. Let us temporarily imagine that in the near future, one of our two countries is completely run by a Christian fundamentalist who decides to revoke the voting rights of homosexuals. The homosexual demographic is not dependent upon the goodwill of the state, and can move, leaving that country for one more liberal. By doing this, they deprive their old country of not one, but two contributions for each emigrant. First they take with them their goods and services, which deprives the public of their contributions. The second thing they take is that which they would have paid in taxes. The revenue of the state is decreased.

However, if welfare recipients were not allowed to vote in one of our two countries, they would not be able to leave, since they are dependent and it would be most difficult to find a country that they can quickly accustom themselves to which would also provide an equivalent amount of public aide. It does not matter, for even if they did leave, the public loses nothing since they contributed nothing. The state's revenue is actually increased by this, since they are now funding fewer dependents, and as the old adage says: "A penny saved is a penny earned."

This leads me to your great mistake in equating class to demographic. I shall concentrate upon the working class since they are most closest in caste to those individuals who live off of welfare. If the entire working class was banned from voting, they too would leave. Indeed, their labor and skill set may not be worth much, but it was worth something and contributed something, otherwise they would not be employed. If they all emigrated, or simply quite their jobs and went on welfare, there would be so many tasks undone. From grocery stores to restaurants to warehouses, many jobs would not be done. Society is at a loss because it no longer benefits from necessary services, and the public revenue is decreased by the loss of their taxes. The same is true of the upper classes, who are comprised mainly of stockholders and landowners, who will simply invest their capital outside of the country.

The welfare recipient cannot react in the same because of the very nature of his/her relationship with society. Whereas every other possible demographic produces to the public good and contributes to the public revenue, the welfare recipients contributes nothing to the public good and takes away from revenue. This is the nature of their dependent state. The welfare system exists, as I stated before, as a safety net; it is intended to help those individuals who have fallen to stand on their own again. However, to permit such individuals to vote while receiving welfare will only encourage them to vote in favor of increasing taxation on the rest of the population, taxes which they do not pay. As Mill said, they will most often cast their vote to take from the wallets of everyone else. All the contributing members of society contribute, by tax, to the welfare system, as well they should. But these contributing members, whether they are right wing or left wing, black or white, wealthy landowner or the man who shines shoes at a stock exchange, these people contribute to the public revenue, and so they should be the ones who decide how that revenue is spent. Those persons who are on welfare, for the duration of their time on it, must not be allowed to have such a say since they do not contribute to it but take from it. It would be the equivalent of parents allowing a young child to have an equal say in the family finances.


The purpose of welfare is to provide social support for the poorest and people have a disability to work. You're assuming many families abuse the system which they don't nor have you provided any evidence to support your claims. As I showed in my last argument a 0.8% generation of families abuse the system which is a tiny amount.

Those two parts of their policies/stances don't correlate. Just because one is terrible doesn't mean the other is. Using that logic is completely illogical. I don't think you know what authoritarian means "adjective: authoritarian favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom." welfare benefits is anything but authoritarian it is helping the poorest to live and giving them support. Nor is it forcing anyone to vote for them they have the choice. You have also ignored this more then a few times but the government that increases welfare may get more votes from poorer people but less votes from more right wingers. Your logic is so flawed. You're assuming on top of assumptions on top of other assumptions. Its really quite painful to read.

And thus you fail to see my point. It was never meant to be an equivalent my sole point was that parties try to appeal to different groups. Whether those groups are dependent on the state or not is irrelevant it doesn't affect my argument. A lot of prejudice here. Just because someone does not benefit to the society in the way of taxes does not mean they have no rights and should not be allowed to vote. People are born with disabilities and instead of giving them right and allowing them to vote. You're comparing them to criminals who similarly can't vote. You're seeing money as more important than people but money is not everything. Money helps pay the bills but there's much more to life than merely income and tax.

Anyways as a another rebuttal. What counts as contributing to society is entirely subjective. In your view it is all about money. But that is not everyone's view nor is that an objective view just merely a perception. Some people have had many experiences with kids with mental or physical deficiencies and loved them because the kids offered unconditional love which is so hard to find in this society. So what's more important money, conditional love or something else? Its entirely subjective
Debate Round No. 4


Before I conclude, I wish to clarify my meaning on authoritarian movements will often promise welfare in exchange for greater support of an expanded state. The two do not need to be linked, as a truly liberal candidate may also offer an expansion of welfare. However, in order to win more voters, authoritarians are much more likely to increase welfare. Their purposes are more nefarious, as that they typically portray themselves behaving like Robin Hood, taking from the rich and giving to the poor, but in reality they keep a sizeable portion of the net increase of revenue for themselves and for state purposes.

Now I will conclude...
Welfare recipients should not be allowed to vote because doing so would allow them to take more from all the hard working people, self-sufficient people and give more to themselves. This increase in taxation ultimately is bad for everyone who pays taxes, and benefits only the ruling classes and those receiving public aide. Although not every person who is on welfare is wicked and selfish, it is certain that there are those individuals who are just that, and will vote only to that which benefits them, even if it comes at the expense of all working people. Even those who are ultimately good may be forced to vote for those individuals proposing tax hikes not out of selfishness, but out of necessity. This allows predatory politicians who wish to expand their power to pander to this demographic in order to garner support for an increase in taxes at the expense of all contributing members of society. So, I conclude by saying that legislation which prevents those dependent upon public aide from voting actually preserves democratic values and protects the popular consent of all working people.

Thank you, opposition, for your insight and arguments.


I will conclude my arguments. Inherently their is no group more important or less important then the other this also applies with voting. Thus any perception that one is inferior and shouldn't pay tax is entirely down to that individual and is subjective. Also ruling out welfare recipients will rule out 60% of the population out of voting which would turn the country into a fascist dictatorship (shown source earlier). Assumptions are also based on authoritarian personalities which are entirely wrong as my definition showed and in reality every group right wing and left wing will equally give benefits to each group to appeal to that group so they can win the general election.

Thank you for the debate.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by gryfonclaw 1 year ago
While an interesting read, the problem here was the lack of establishment of the following:

1. The definition of welfare (cultural context is very important - it absolutely matters if the welfare is discussed in relation to the US or the UK)
2. The type of welfare
3. The extent of welfare distributed to the subjects under debate
4. How the generational or lifetime recipients of welfare were qualified
5. The extent of "bad" welfare recipients in relation to the population
6. A comprehensive look at the myriad reasons people become recipients of government assistance.

The issue here were the assumptions about the nature of welfare recipients, and the way in which they receive said benefits. The assumption is that if one qualifies and receives welfare, they *must* not be working, or that they simply go collect a check. Most people on welfare cannot vote anyway, seeing as how they are children (WIC, SNAP, Medicaid). Most people on welfare are too poor to afford a car, so they cannot reliably go to their polling place, and if they could hoof it, then they might lose too much money from their hourly-paid, low wage jobs because they just spent a couple hours getting from work to the polls and back again. Most people on welfare are already marginally disenfranchised as it is - taking away someone's right to vote because they're getting a couple hundred bucks in food stamps to feed their kids will not make their lives better - it will make it worse. And by doing this you are virtually guaranteeing that they will never get out of that cycle of poverty and, ultimately, never be self-supporting.

Removing the right to vote for those who receive welfare will make the problem worse, not better.
Posted by LuciferWept 1 year ago
I have changed my opinion on this topic, not because of this debate, but because of the concept of similar arguments wishing to ban others from voting. Although I understand where Mill was coming from, he also stated that educational tests should be given out in order to vote (to test for basic literacy or mathematical competency). This did not go well in the US, as that it was used to bar certain individuals from voting. It is better to allow all to vote (even though I still firmly believe that people will vote for selfish reasons and that those on welfare will vote in favor of bigger more powerful governments most of the time) than to allow the government to decide who can or cannot vote.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
>Reported vote: frogger// Mod action: Removed<

4 points to Con (ConductArguments). Reasons for voting decision: they are american citizens

[*Reason for removal*] Not an RFD, merely a statement about the voter's perception of some people.
Posted by BackCommander 1 year ago
The most obvious problem with revoking their right to vote is that they could just recently had to resort to welfare right around the time of elections, meaning that they'd be punished for being poor at the wrong time.
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