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

in a democratic society a felon ought to retain the right to vote.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/21/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,370 times Debate No: 6023
Debate Rounds (3)
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uuhhh i'm just trying out my cases. this is my first online debate.

I affirm. Resolved:In a democratic society, felons ought to retain the right to vote.
"Nothing is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man"- Thomas Jefferson
Value:relevant impacts
In this crazy world we have crazy impacts. A murderer will be silenced forever like the poor guy who had to steal $150 to support his family. Would a same impact make sense?-no
Value Criteria: Patriotic Duty
The point of voting is to serve/fulfill patriotic duty. We already limit felons so much, that by taking away this
duty we are literally just having them age in the corner and not try to make things square with society.

Democratic-pertaining to or characterized by the principle of political or social equality for all
Society-a body of individuals living as members of a community
Observation 1: The resolution just says democratic society, meaning that this resolution does not just pertain to one country.

Contention 1: What's a felony?

A)Felonies actually differentiate country from country and even state from state, so basically the argument that if a criminal commits a crime, that criminal deserves an equal punishment does not exist. Seeing the fact that countries and even states within countries have different ideas on what a felon is, there is no black and white way to label someone as a felon or someone who deserves to get their rights taken away. This also means that one person can be seen as the scum of the world in one country, and then the other can be seen as a person who made an honest mistake and just receives a misdemeanor.

B) In Maryland, for instance, criminals cannot vote for the rest of their lives if they are twice convicted of a felony (or what the state calls "infamous crimes"). Yet, many of the 149 offenses so categorized--such as inserting slugs into a slot machine or using a false identification card are regarded in other states as misdemeanors.

Another example would be that any resident of Florida who stops payment on a check of more than $150 with intent to defraud commits a felony; so does the teenager who is caught with an ounce of crack cocaine, but the recreational user who is nabbed for cocaine (in powder form) possession is guilty of a misdemeanor. Even in some states just stealing over $150 dollars is considered a felony, do they deserve a punishment? Yes. Do they deserve to be silenced forever by not being allowed to express their free opinion through voting? No. There aren't many felons that would be considered felons if they were caught in a different state, when it even comes to more serious issues like murder and rape, much, much less than 10% are even categorized under this.

C) Not letting felons vote have three impacts
The first one is that since the word felon can not be used universally for some crimes and can be used the same for other crimes in every state, then there can not be a universal impact for every felony. Does a person that stole $150 dollars deserve to be silenced for life like a mass-serial murderer? By voting Negation on the resolution and not letting felons vote we would be making completely unfair decisions that silence people who aren't even considered felons in other parts of the world or even country. Therefore there is no "concrete" social contract, there are always loop holes in it, some will get a slap on the hand through misdemeanors and little fines, and others will be silenced forever.

The second one would be the dehumanization of human voices. Voting represents thoughts, and your own voice. If you can't vote, you can't speak, is there a point to think if you can't speak? Felons already have their lives limited after they get out of prison, they can't have any government employed jobs, and even privately owned jobs are hard to find. They already are living a life with actions cut short, but stopping the voting process would completely stop thinking. By not letting felons vote, we will support dehumanization of an ordinary person. The world can't even define him as a felon in every country, none the less in every state.

The third is the whole point of prison itself. Prison is meant to rehabilitate and reintegrate prisoners through a process of punishment until they are able to walk back into society. By cutting out something as important as voting, we are putting them in their own world rather than society's world, not being able to vote is the fuse to repeating crimes. They can't get a city job, private establishments frown upon hiring such people, and now they can't even vote to change things, they can't use their own voices to let people hear their struggle because we smother them. Their dawn to midnight life in the fast food business leaves them hundreds of dollars short to pay rent, and no one wants to hear their problems. They rob and steal to make ends meet. If society spits on you, won't you spit back?
Contention 2: What started it? What feeds the fire today?

A)Many disenfranchisement laws were enacted as far back as the Civil War period. Many historians have clarified on the fact that the reason this all started was because of White supremacy. The whole idea of disenfranchising was made on racist roots. Now disenfranchising is used as a way of shaping the voting pool. By not letting certain people vote, an outcome of a state's election will be different.
B) Now the funny thing is, if disenfranchising was such an obvious moral choice to make why did it almost take a century for it to be triggered? Many of them were triggered right around the time African Americans were allowed to vote. The purpose? To stop African Americans from voting. Back then and even now, many felons are of this race. Laws disempowering blacks were pivotal, historian Morgan Kousser explains, because they provided southern states with "insurance if courts struck down the more blatantly unconstitutional clauses." Now it's not so much of racist terms that make politicians keep this law up, but the issue of curving the voting pool. For example Even in the present era, according to Florida State Sen. Daryl Jones, "The state legislature
attempts to classify more and more crimes as felonies so it can eliminate more people from the voter rolls." In 2000, Jones reports. the Republican legislature proposed a bill that would have increased from 365 to 366 days the jail sentence for anyone who cashes two welfare checks after gaining employment. What is the purpose of adding one more day? The offense then becomes a felony, and "You take one more person off the voter rolls. It's a fact that over one-third of felons are African Americans. It's another fact that only 14% of African Americans in total vote republican. By having more crimes become felonies, more African Americans can't vote.

C) This has a few impacts
By keeping this disenfranchisement around we are having something started out of unjust means stick around, meaning that our own society doesn't care that we have a law that was purely based on racist means and that civil rights mean nothing.

The second one is that we are silencing minorities. The worst thing is that we are silencing them off of unjust means, those means are that politicians just want to silence them because of voting rates.

The third is that we don't care how we stop them, we just want to stop them, meaning that we don't care how ridiculous we make laws, as long as we stop certain people from voting. Meaning that none of the movement for disenfranchising is even out of just motives, but just motives of wanting to win elections.


alright, I will be Neg then....


CV: Justice: giving each person his or her due

VC: Social Contract
The Social contact is a mutual agreement between the Government and the governed instituted to protect the rights of individuals in society. In exchange for the protection of Natural right the governed must accept restrictions of certain rights and must assume certain duties. When a society follows and preserves the social contract justice is created. When a society moves away from or abandons its social contract man shall right man, protecting the rights of none and creating no justice. This is relevant to the resolution because the idea of democracy is based on the social contract

Observation: My opponent Must prove, in order to win, that ALL felons must vote.

1st –Social Contract

A. Locke believed that the violation of the social contract negated the contract between the parties and entered them in a sort of state of war in which no rights were preserved. One of the things required of the governed in to uphold the laws and regulations put in place by society, So in this resolution the felons violated the social contract by not upholding the laws of Society so they are essentially allowing for the violation of their own rights and removal from society because, humans, being rational beings, made a conscious choice to not uphold the duties given to them by the government acknowledge that the government is not obligated to protect those rights. As said by philosopher Emmanuel Kant" if a man makes himself a worm he must not complain when he is trodden on" So By violating the Contact felons have essentially removed themselves from society and therefore must be considered as non-citizens to that society. Non-Citizens do not have the right to vote in a foreign country and that is how Felons ought to be treated. They are equal to non-citizens in that regard because just as the felons removed themselves from society non-citizens have not entered into the social contract.

B. By allowing Felons to we would not only be giving them all of the rights of law-abiding citizens but would be elevating them above them by saying, even though you violated the contract you are equal to everybody else. By doing this you are creating a situation when felons ,who have broken the contract and essentially said the law doesn't apply to them, can make Laws for those who obeyed the laws. This is allowing for an attempted double-freedom which is plainly unjust.

2nd – Impact on society
Under the social contract a government is only as strong as its people a government were many of the people have shown a disregard for society is not a strong one. So by eliminating those from voting you are creating a stronger government. Felons, because they have broken the social contract show that they have a disregard for society. Also In cases of small local election felons could have a massive impact on elections. The effect of this is apparent in small communities where felons may represent a majority. In this situation you get the Felons actually potentially silencing the law abiding which is unjust. Also look to such felon that have committed Voter Fraud or Insurrection and so advertise a blatant disregard for society and should not participate in governmental decision-making. If we allow even those who have actively worked to destroy society to decide how that society is run we will destroy that society.

Conclusion: I have proven that the social contract is the best Criterion and that felons have broken it and therefore should not vote. If one instance is given in which felons should not vote a urge a negative ballot.

Aff Case

Cv: the Value of relevant impacts is inferior to the value of justice. This is because the resolution clearly states a democratic society and the goal of a democratic society is justice. Also my opponent defined his value by saying that a minor theft should not have the same consequence as a murder. This is true, there is more ail time for a murder and often times $150 is not a felony. Also if you are to say a thief should not be disenfranchised but a murderer should then my opponent has agreed with my stance and a negation is in order becuase, in this resolution it is the burden of the Aff to prove all felons should vote, not just a select group.

VC: Patriotic duty does not make or break a society, infact it is not even relevant because many people are not-patriotic. A democratic society cannot exist without a social contract therefore making SC the most relevant.

1st contention
A) people who receive a misdemeanor are not inside the parameters of this debate. Also this contention is rather non-topical. it is a felony, therefore society has deemed to be a dangerous crime. Also if degree mattered, sat Murderers could be disenfranchised that automatically negates the resolution.

B)Also it does not matter what is a felony or not, as a said before if the Aff supports the disenfranchisement of rapists,murderers or anyone else then the resolution MUST be negated.

C: Cross apply my other arguments against this contention here.

2: They have broken the social contract, and should therefore lose the political liberties guaranteed under it. If we allowed them to vote it would elevate them as I say in Contention 1 Subpoint B. This is not dehumanization but justice.

3. What about people voting in prison? They are still felons. Also felons have sacrificed the right to vote by committing a felony. Also even in states without disenfranchisement the recidivism numbers are just as high.

2nd Contention
It may have BEEN something but it is not know. the system is color blind. If someone commits a felony they are a felon, it doesn't matter what race they are.

Silencing minorities? it may just be that statistically they commit more crimes I don't know but it seems that this is an over generalization. and in itself in unequal becuase it is saying we should abolish it becuase one group does it more? THAT is racist.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

First i will attack his value of justice by asking, "what really is justice?" Justice i guess is defined by people, but how do people define justice? My opponent clearly only covered one side of justice, claiming that his justice is the only justice. Justice is never black and white like how my opponent is trying to paint it as, in fact many people don't get the same impact of disenfranchisement by becoming a felon as others do. My opponent describes his shallow justice as "what is due to one by their actions" and uses social contract to back it up, but can my opponent explain why/how one crime can be considered a misdemeanor like stealing $150 in one state and receive a slap on the wrist, and in another state years in prison and dehumanized by being silenced for life?

Basically my opponent will have to answer why some people get some harsh "justice" and others don't, why justice as how he tried painting it so black and white is so different in different countries and even states , and how his expression "what is due to one" doesn't even apply in our justice system as you can see one man that does the same crime gets a different impact, and how a murderer and a petty theft can have the same due/impact? Basically my opponent's idea of justice doesn't exist, and is too black and white to even use in this round, none the less life.

My opponent's criteria is of social contract. Social contract is flawed as can be.
1) It's never the same in every country, or even state, therefore how can we base everything on something that contradicts itself?
2) It's always changing!!! Before the civil war it was part of every african american's social contract to be a slave and 3/5 of a human. if they denied, they were beaten, and killed. Even 50 years ago gay marriage was seen as abomination, now it's almost every where. People don't have the same picture of justice, or even the legitimacy of the social contract.
3) technically this superficial contract is already fulfilled. Every one of those felons are/ have already served their punishment, disenfranchisement is just an added impact, not a punishment. the social contract just asks for a punishment, not an added impact. I would also like to bring up again that this impact isn't the same everywhere, thefore can not be seen as common justice like how my opponent may try to make it.

for my opponent's first contention, i would like to extend the same argument i used against his criteria. Also to point out his second sub point is a load of B.S. He says by allowing them to vote the law doesn't apply to them and that they will be considered equal.
1) Uuuuhhhhh, weren't they already punished for years? isn't that enough for them to tell that they are punished, and that they have to follow the law? Also the added impacts of not being able to get a state job, also it being hard as hell to even get a decent job with a private institute. My opponents is trying to limit them so much to where justice isn't even an issue, but revenge just become the priority.
2) Also the point of prison is to reintegrate people back into society and once again be equals, why would we plummet them even more? even for the ones that are still in prison, they are still fulfilling their punishment and will eventually be pushed back into society.
- 2nd contention. he says felons will affect voting and cause "bad things". in a democracy voting is seen as the market place for ideas, there are no wrong ideas. Basically my opponent is saying they will have unjust impacts, so basically the felon that votes republican is making a wrong decision, and the harvard law student that votes for a Nazi party is making the right choice. My opponent is saying the man that stole 150 dollars will always make the wrong choice and contaminate the vote, and some loose law following citizens will always make the right choice. Not only is that foolish, but he is putting many groups of people under one shallow category. Also no idea is ever wrong in democracy, by he proposing this he is tearing apart the resolution itself, and completely contradicting himself about what is "just".

also my opponent never did any research on this, if he did he would know that the majority of felons don't vote, for instance in Utah less than 5% of felons were even registered to vote before becoming felons, therefore they wouldn't even cause a dent. Even if they did, it wouldn't matter, there is no wrong choice in dmocracy.

My case
value- his attack was that his value is superior to mine. like i have shown his value is very shallow, one cited, and even contradicts itself by saying "what is due to one", like i have shown this "justice" changes everywhere. No one gets the same "due". He even agreed with me by saying, "he's right". Then he said i have to allow all felons to vote. okay that's fine with me, murderers and rapists make up less than 5% of felons, they are just simply the metal needles in a hay stack, why bring down everyone for them? every program has it's "needles". Welfare has people that just leach off the government, should we get rid of it?-no Public schools have people that just drop out and don't care about their education, should we get rid of it? -no. Therefore my opponent's arguments are futile.

value criteria- he says many people are not They still fulfill a patriotic duty if they know it or not. It doesn't take a founding father to vote, just a normal every day man can do the same patriotic duty. He says it's not relevant, but if every person were to not vote, then there would be no new president, and a total anarchy would occur.

my 1st contention

A) he says misdemeanors are nor relevant. the only problem is that then half of felonies would not be relevant either, seeing that many felonies are just misdemeanors in another place. I just showed how flawed a social contract can be. he also says felonies are deemed as serious crimes, so then what about that misdemeanor for the same crime somewhere else? are they not serious, but these are? felonies don't have to be serious to be felonies, they can be petty crimes. Also my opponents keeps going back to murderers, who cares? they make up less than five percent. That's like calling all white people racist because a small percent are.

B) why must it be negated? i just gave examples of other programs we have of which people exploit it but we still have them. Calling all felons murders is completely ignorant. it's like calling my opponent hitler because he comes from german decent. it's ridiculous.

2 He pitches justice and social contract, i have already destroyed these two ideas over and over again. he even admits that the social contract is different everywhere, how can dehumanization of one, and a petty fine to another that committed the same crime be just? the two ideas destroy each other completely. Also i will point out again, that the social contract only calls for punishment, disenfranchisement is just an impact and not even relevant. this impact isn't the same everywhere. all of his arguments are the complete opposite of justice.
3) they are paying their crimes already, who cares if they vote? it's not like a loan, or a bale issue, i mean they can't skip town right? they are stuck there.
2 contention
my opponent argues that race doesn't matter, justice is color blind...but are juries? There are already many cases in which a man is freed 2o years after their prosecution because the woman that got raped said black man did it, and they happened to be black. just him saying that racism doesn't exist, shows how ignorant my opponent is. also i even stated that it started that way, but now is mainly used to control voting rates. he didn't even argue my evidence cards, he just randomly claimed minorities commit more crimes, where's his evidence? if you were a socialist cand., wouldn't you want as little as possible conservat


Metz forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I received my opponent's comment about how he didn't have time to come up with arguments because of finals, that's fine, i understand, but according to the LD handbook if you don't reply to any of my arguments towards your case or the counters to protect my case, then you lose. my opponent unfortunately dropped every argument, making me the automatic winner. silence is compliance, my opponent is not allowed to come up with an new arguments or redeem the ones i smashed. therefore the only way to vote is the vote of the affirmation, seeing that all my arguments are still intact and that he dropped every single one of his. this isn't a matter of a opinion, but a matter of rules itself. according to the handbook he dropped everything and he can't come back and protect them now because he failed to respond in his last round. VOTE AFFIRMATIVE!!!!


That really is rather abusive isn't it??

I Urge you to vote on the posted arguments not by a technicality as voting upon arguments is in the true spirit of debate and is what debate is for, who presented better arguments, who refuted better and so on... That is debate, technicalities do not make a good debate. So I think that you, as the judge for our rounds vote upon the presented arguments not upon a technicality. and Of course I urge you to vote Negative
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Mangani 9 years ago
This debate was ignored because the topic has been beat to death!
Posted by Bow-Tie 9 years ago
people these aren't just technicalities, i mean my opponent is calling for a "good debate", one of good arguments and refutes. my red flag clearly showed how my opponent neglected both. my technicalities were just calling for what my opponents wants, "good arguments, and refutes", my opponent neglected both, especially refutes. a good debate is not made on technicalities? then there's no point of having a debate if you're not going to follow the rules. if you're not going to properly reply to arguments then this whole debate was a waste of time. not only is ignoring common rules like i don't know refuting/actually responding to arguments make a horrible debate, but it shows a lack of sport. my opponent says technicalities don't make a good debate, but that's wrong. without rules like refuting and actually responding in rounds this is no longer a debate, but a pitiful waste of time. technicalities like actually responding to an argument don't just make a good debate, but a legit debate. technically my red flag isn't just a technicality, but a call for a decent debate, is asking for my opponent not to completely drop his whole case and not B.S. his last round too much to ask for? is asking for a legit debate too much for my opponent?
Posted by Metz 9 years ago
Terribly Sorry about the forfeit... I am Busy studying for Finals in December so I was a bit preoccupied...

I will make sure to finish this debate without any other troubles

sorry once again,
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