The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
17 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: 11/5/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,294 times Debate No: 5895
Debate Rounds (3)
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Denying felons the franchise undermines the value of the vote, which in turn demeans the idea of a TRUE democratic society since such is true I affirm the resolution In a democratic society, felons ought to retain the right to vote. As an overview Rawls states the principle of justice is fairness and that each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of basic liberties. This principle is defined as prior to the second principle, meaning that greater social or economic advantages can neither justify nor compensate for a deviation from the institutions of equal liberty.... [T]he "worth of the political liberties to all citizens... must be approximately equal, or at least sufficiently equal, in the sense that everyone has a fair opportunity to hold public office and to influence the outcome of political decisions." Principal among all the basic liberties, therefore, are the political liberties; principal among the political liberties is the right to vote. As Rawls writes in A Theory of Justice: "[A]ll citizens are to have an equal right to take part in, and to determine the outcome of, the constitutional process that establishes the laws with which they are to comply." This is why by agreeing with the above interpretation I offer the following advocacy of maintaining equality. Where my sole value will be
v- Justice supported through a vc of Foucault's normalization theory
Justice strives for equality and sense a Democracy means that every citizen has a voice –
Justice is mandated by the resolution.
The following definitions will now be offered to serve as clarity throughout the round
Normalization theory- Foucault believes that the purpose of punishment is restorative. In other words, punishment should try to help the felon become a law-abiding citizen once more. This theory, called normalization, focuses on bridging the gap between felons and the rest of society. Where Foucault recognizes that sense once the felons have been released from prison society no longer fears them as being a threat, therefore they can go back to gaining the rights and privileges they once had.

a: government by the people ; especially : rule of the majority

retain: to continue to hold or have, to preserve

Con 1 is rehabilitation
Rehabilitation means; To restore to useful life, as through therapy and education or To restore to good condition, operation, or capacity. The assumption of rehabilitation is that people are not natively criminal and that it is possible to restore a criminal to a useful life, to a life in which they contribute to themselves and to society. Rather than punishing the harm out of a criminal, rehabilitation would seek, by means of education or therapy, to bring a criminal into a more normal state of mind, or into an attitude which would be helpful to society, rather than be harmful to society.
This theory of punishment is based on the notion that punishment is to be inflicted on an offender so as to reform him/her, or rehabilitate them so as to make their re-integration into society easier. The only reason again for releasal is that the society has no replaced trust in the fleon because of his or her rehabilitaion time so why if such is true would you further deprive an individual of the right to vote after they have been deemed no longer a threat. They have served their time and although are officially still clasified as a felon, they are now again officially reinstituted as a law abdiding member of society. Where according to a democratic system deserve the right to vote.
Con 2 Individual agency
The main goal of a society is to assure each individuals right to agency. If people could not make decisions then society would not exist and democracy could not exist. Violation of an individual's agencies are therefore bad. Any action denying an individual of his agency, such as what is apparent on the opposition thus is also bad. My burden is to prove denying a felon the right to vote in a democratic society violates that felons agency. Where such is seen through their inability to take part in the very democratic system they belong to. Regardless of the felony committed felons are still citizens thus are still individuals thus morally should still have the right to vote or else democracy collapses.

Con 3 affirmative action
Affirmative action is the effort to rectify the past injustice as well as to produce a situation closer to the ideal of equal opportunity by special policies. Where it's a backward- looking feature that attempts to correct and compensate for past injustice. This aspect of affirmative action is strictly deontological. The forward-looking feature is its implicit ideal of a society free from prejudice, where ones gender or race is irrelevant to basic opportunities. Where equal opportunity under affirmative action grants all with a fair chance at the best positions that society has including factors such as the availability to partake in voting.
Which is why I respectively urge an affirmative vote I now stand open for cross x and further points of clarification.





Felon: An individual convicted of a felony (Black's Law Dictionary)
Felony: A crime meriting jail time or death (Black's Law Dictionary)
retain: to keep (Merriam-Webster)
Right: That which one may claim as due (Merriam-Webster)

Observation 1: With the entry on "felon" Black's Law Dictionary leaves this note: "Individuals longer considered felons after completion of their sentences." This means that this resolution applies strictly to felons in jail.
Observation 2: "Retain" means "to keep," this means that felons would never lose the right to vote. They keep it even immediately after conviction.

Value: Justice
The Negative values Justice in this resolution simply because legal systems are created to achieve justice, and as this debate is centered around the legal system, which is also called the *justice* system, it seems fit for justice to be our value. Justice is of course giving each their due, or, in respects to this debate, upholding rights.

Criterion: Locke's Social Contract
Governments get power from the people's consent. In short, an unwritten contract is made. The people give power to the government, and in return, people's rights are protected. This means certain government-specific rights are given, such as the right to vote, that would be meaningless without a government. Governments also create justice systems to solve societal disagreements peacefully. When a criminal breaks a law, they have violated the contract, and infringed on the government's power. This leads to a societal disagreement, which is why we have court trials. The courts then must find the just solution. The criterion for this is clear, you must look at the contract that the individuals entered into. That is what is done in every contract violation lawsuit, and there is no logical reason that it shouldn't apply here.

Contention 1: When an individual violates the Social Contract, he loses all government-given rights for the duration of his sentence. This is because the government is only obligated to give these rights because of the contract. Expecting otherwise would be similar to claiming that you have a right to your neighbor's ten dollars, even though you neglected to mow his lawn. It would be nice of your neighbor to give you the money, but you don't have a *right* to the money, because you failed to fulfill the contract. It is exactly the same here. It may be a nice thing to do to give a felon the ability to vote, but the felon does not have a *right* to vote. Based off this, you negate.

Moving on to the AC...
Per Rawls card: The right to vote is not a "basic liberty." It is only a right because of the social contract, which by the way, Rawls supported. The Rawls card has no impact on the right to vote.

Per the Value of justice: I agree with this value, so we have no disagreement here.

Per the VC of Foucalt's Normalization Theory: This criterion fits right under my case, so you can just turn it. This is because Foucalt says clearly that rights are not retained, but that they are *regained.* That is, the felons aren't keeping the right. They are giving it up, just like their right to move freely and their right to be employed in a paying job, as a punishment. Of course they regain it, but they do not *retain* it. The resolution does not say "Resolved: That in a democratic society ex-felons ought to regain the right to vote after completion of their sentence." If it did, I couldn't negate. Ex-felons however are not felons, so this fails. In short, you turn his VC, as it advocates that felons lose the right to vote while in jail.

Per Contention 1: You turn this as well, because again it is advocating the felons *regain* the right to vote. I agree with this, but it is not advocating that felons *retain* the right to vote. It implies that felons ought to lose the right to vote while in jail. This is what the negative is advocating, so you turn contention 1 to the negative.

Per Contention 2: This gets dropped for a few reasons. First, there is NO link back to the VC with this. This has nothing to do with Foucalt. Second, this is advocating that my neighbor should give me money for mowing his lawn even though I never actually mowed his lawn. I have no right to his money, as the felon has no right to vote. When you break a contract, you lose the benefits of being in the contract. Furthermore, my opponent places a false impact on this contention. He is claiming that democracy collapses if felons lack the right to vote. This is completely untrue. The United States is the world's most stable democracy, and felons lose the right to vote in 48 states. It works fine.

Per Contention 3: This has no impact whatsoever. Affirmative action does not deal with felon voting rights. There is still equal opportunity, I have no idea what my opponent means to show with this contention.

You vote negative because voting affirmative is advocating the same thing as giving me ten dollars for mowing your lawn even though I never mowed it. I now stand ready for our non-existent cross-examination. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1


livinthelife forfeited this round.


Ethanthedebater1 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


livinthelife forfeited this round.


This debate was a complete failure. I win though, as all my arguments were dropped.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Ethanthedebater1 9 years ago
Oops, I forfeited, but at least it doesn't matter. The argument period is too short.
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