The Instigator
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The Contender
Pro (for)
7 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: 11/24/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,127 times Debate No: 6032
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




"We don't let children vote, for instance, or non-citizens, or the mentally incompetent. Why? Because we don't trust them, or their judgment. So the question is: do criminals belong in that category? And I think the answer clearly is, yes. People who commit serious crimes have shown that they are not trustworthy." That was a quote by Roger Clegg, from a debate held by the legal affaires club on November 1st 2004.
That being said, I stand in firm negation of the resolved:
That, in a democratic society, felons ought to retain the right to vote.

I stand here for the following contentions…

Contention 1- the rule of law
Sub-contention 1a- social contract

Contention 2- right vs. privilege
Sub-contention 2a- the line is drawn

My value is the rule of law.
My criterion is the social contract

Before I go into my case, I would like to define a few words…

Democratic society - rule/government by the citizen majority

Felon – someone who has committed a felony as determined by their democratic society.

Ought – deserve

To retain – to keep

So let me restate the resolution with the defined words…

In a government by the people, someone who has committed a felony deserves to keep the right to vote.

I, of course negate the defined resolution for my previously stated points.

As neg, I stand with the position of following the rule of law. I am upholding the laws that are previously standing. Affirmation is suggesting that we violate the rule of law, by going against what the laws are, and always will be, which are the guidelines to keep the world safe. By violating the laws, you are endangering the safety of that democratic society, and maybe even the entire world. Violating laws also violates order.
We, the people, must also respect, and value the social contract. The social contract is a contract and covenant held between the government, and us, the people. For point of deeper clarification, the social contract defines what is acceptable, and what is not acceptable in a democratic society. For example, the social contract defines how the society handles crimes, such as: murder, rape, theft, etc..
A democratic society is a society ruled by the majority of the people in that society. Rule by the people requires complete respect for the social contract. They must serve all consequences of their actions, including the loss of voting rights. It's not as if they weren't forewarned. They knowingly broke the law, and are now suffering the consequences of those actions.

The reason this topic cannot be affirmed is because a rule of a democracy, or a democratic society, is a rule by the majority of the people. We cannot allow one person, such as my opponent, dictate the outcome of a voting society. We cannot affirm, because the result of this debate should be decided by each democratic society, and not be forced that all societies should follow this one command. I, as negation, am pushing to give the choice to the society that has been violated.

There is a fine line drawn between a right and a privilege. A right is something granted to you, something unalienable, and something you deserve. A privilege, on the other hand is something given to you. Something you are aloud to do with permission. Granted, the resolution DOES state voting is a right, I will explain more about it.
I have previously stated that when a person commits a felony, or serious crime, they give up their RIGHT to vote. I still stand by this, but I also stand with the seemingly contrary statement that, the choice should be given to the specific democratic society the felon is involved in. Though my two statements seem to contradict themselves, I will explain why they do not.
When a person commits a serious crime or a felony, they give up their right to vote. Their right to vote does not go away, it simply becomes a privilege. The line has been drawn between the right and the privilege, now the felon has crossed that line, and changes all of his rights to privileges. That is why the two statements work hand in hand, the democratic societies have the RIGHT… to decide whether or not the privilege is given to the felon.
As we spend time debating this topic, we are not looking at the true answer. The true answer is not that they should keep the right to vote. The true answer is to leave things the way they are now. Individual prisons present voting privileges to felons who have had good behavior.


Felons should retain the right to vote for the following reasons

disenfranchisement: is the term used to describe the practice of prohibiting people from voting based on the fact that they have been convicted of a felony

My first arguments:
I would like to point out that ex-felons (who in society, are still counted as felons) do not retain the right to vote.
And that it is racially targeted.

For most Americans the right to vote is so ingrained in our political consciousness that they take it for granted, not even caring to exercise it at times. But imagine if you were stripped of that right because of a felony in your past?

Scott M. Bennet, J.D. Candidate at Berkely, BOALT JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW, "giving ex-felons the right to vote", Jan. 2004, p.lexis

"In the united states, 1.4 million ex-felons cannot go to the polls, even though they have already completed their sentences.
in five states, at least 4% of adults have permanently lost the right to vote. The raw # of people disenfranchised is shocking in a democracy.
As one Connecticut newspaper columnist wrote, 'it is fundamentally unfair when ex-felons are out on the street, working and paying taxes, but disqualified from exercising the most basic of civil rights.'"
"Of the 3.9 million disenfranchised, 1.4 million are African American Men--13% of the black population in America.
That is a huge portion of the black men in America.
In Alabama and Florida 31% of all black men are permanently disenfranchised in Iowa, Virginia, and Wyoming."

Misdemeanors that will take away your right to vote, thus creating felons:
>Bribery-occurs when someone gives or takes a crim
>Computer Fraud
>Perjury-lying while under oath in a judicial proceeding
Debate Round No. 1


CoronerPerry forfeited this round.


Element96 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


CoronerPerry forfeited this round.


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Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Bellalouise 9 years ago
This is a hard debate to win if you think that felons should be able to vote. good luck!:]
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Bellalouise 9 years ago
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