The Instigator
farmboy22
Con (against)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
LightC
Pro (for)
Winning
22 Points

in a democratic society, felons should retain the right to vote

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
LightC
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/15/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,781 times Debate No: 6546
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (5)

 

farmboy22

Con

Do the names Carrie Lenz or Cindy Brown ring a bell? Probably not. They were 26 years old when Tim McVeigh stopped them from ever voting again by bombing the Oklahoma City Federal building. Carrie and Cindy were in good company. There were 166 others in that one felony crime.

The Bureau of Justice lists over 847,000 homicides since 1960. If all those people had lived out their normal lives, that would affect over 9 million presidential votes and over 18 million municipal votes.

My value is justice. Justice, according to the Encarta Dictionary, is fairness or reasonableness, especially in the way people are treated or decisions are made.

There is nothing fair that felons like these are allowed to vote while many victims cannot.

My criterion is upholding the equal treatment of citizens. Equality in a democratic society is never reached when you subtract victim voices while adding felon voices. The ONLY way to achieve equal treatment of citizens is to negate the resolution that in a democratic society, felons ought to retain their right to vote.

A felon, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is someone who has been convicted of a serious crime. They may be currently incarcerated or released.

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Contention 1

Felons have chosen not to vote.

Committing a felony requires premeditation and intent. The consequences of felony convictions are widely known to include no firearms, no elected offices, no jury duty and no voting. My opponent agreed in cross examination that a vote could not be changed once cast - so, in order to treat a felon like other members of society - the felon's decision not to vote should be honored by society.
LightC

Pro

I affirm: In a democratic society, felons ought to retain the right to vote.

1.Democratic society: a society which strives for social and political equality for all
2.Retain: to keep in possession for possible future use or application; to keep
3.Disenfranchise: to take away the power or opportunity to vote

For analysis of the resolution I would like to offer the following observations:

1.The resolution specifies felons. This also includes felons that have already served their time in jail, and are now back in society. This context of a felon in the resolution is true for two reasons:
a.First, the definition of a felon is a person who has committed a felony. This definition uses the past form of the verb. Therefore, it implies that a felon has already committed the crime.
b.Second, when a felon commits a crime it is on their record permanently. This is the legal stamp of a felon. Thus, my context of a felon holds true for the resolution because the government has indication that a felon is considered a felon their whole life, unless they are pardoned or found innocent.
2.The resolution uses the word retain. Therefore, the negative needs to prove why felons ought to be disenfranchised indefinitely.

The affirmative values A Just Legal System. This is an appropriate value because it is inherent to the resolution on the fact that the resolution explicitly talks about punishment. Punishments ought to be just. However, achieving this just legal system can only be done if that government follows its own rules and laws. For example, if a government creates a law outlawing murder, then it is just for that government to prosecute those that murder. Since the law has been created, that law ought to be enforced. The value of a just legal system is achieved by the criterion of Respecting International Law. Since international law is based on the consent of democratic societies throughout the world, it is only logical that respecting the laws made by this group of people help achieve a just legal system. Furthermore, international law is a necessary component to minimize arbitration which is a block to justice. Essentially this criterion is absolutely necessary based on the fact that it is the very law that has come from the consent of the international community in an effort to promote global equality. This criterion impacts the resolution in two ways:

1.First, the resolution never specifies a specific democratic society thus, the resolution implies the global community. Therefore, the criterion of international law greatly impacts the weighing of the resolution in the context of global democratic societies.
2.Second, the resolution implies punishment. International law is the only form of the law that creates a universal standard. Therefore, the criterion of respecting international law greatly impacts the weighing of the resolution in terms of punishment.

The two main UN documents dealing with disenfranchisement and suffrage are the following:

1.Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 2 states "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status." One of the rights set forth is this declaration is the right of universal and equal suffrage. This declaration, ratified by the UN General assembly gives the right to universal suffrage.
2.UN Standard Minimum Rules. According to this standard of rules for criminals, ratified by the UN General Assembly, all felons that have reentered society ought to have the right to vote, and actions by the government must help in the reintegration process of those felons.

Contention I: Implication of the UN decisions

A.The creation of a hypocrisy standard. The previous two UN decisions impact the resolution on the fact that by negating the resolution a hypocrisy standard has been set. Essentially, by negating the resolution the policy decision of disenfranchisement would be put into place in all democratic societies. However, this means that the democratic societies are acting against their written word. Since these two documents were ratified by the global community it would be hypocrisy for those same societies to not practice what they preach. Michael J. Cholbi explains "International laws and norms consistently go against the idea of disenfranchisement. Furthermore, some countries, like the US, who have agreed to those laws, are acting hypocritically because they do not respect the very laws they created for the global community. It is unjust for a country to decide international laws, and then do the complete opposite." Therefore, to prevent the creation of a hypocrisy standard it is necessary to respect the given international laws.

B.The creation of a double standard. Respecting international law helps minimize unjust and inconsistent punishment. For example, in the US the majority of states disenfranchise, however some states do not. Clearly there is inconsistency of disenfranchisement within the US. This makes the punishment an unjust one because its standards are not applied to everyone equally. I.e. a double standard effect is created. Disenfranchisement is also inconsistent on the global scale. For example, the European Union does not disenfranchise while the US does. Michael J. Cholbi explains "Disenfranchisement is inconsistent on a global basis. However, if the countries of the UN General Assembly obey the laws set in the Human Rights Declaration there would be an end to disenfranchisement inconsistency and which would ultimately end up in achieving more international equality." Essentially, respecting and obeying international law reduces the risk of inconsistent disenfranchisement laws, which would end up in more legal consistency.

C.Societal Reintegration. Felon disenfranchisement is counter-productive to society because it hinders reintegration back into normal life. Instead of working to rehabilitate felons and help in the reintegration process, felon disenfranchisement sends the message that felons are unworthy to rejoin society. Dr. Alec Ewald explains "Rehabilitative principles shine a particularly bright light on criminal disenfranchisement policies. If one emphasized rehabilitative goals, indefinite disenfranchisement would clearly be counterproductive, since denying ex-offenders the vote impedes their reintegration into society by stigmatizing them as second-class citizens."

D.Voting fosters awareness. Michael J. Cholbi explains "On the other hand, allowing felons to vote would encourage them to participate in civic affairs, with beneficial results: criminals will strengthen their ties to their communities; develop sympathy and civic-mindedness; enhance their ability to deliberate about long-term policies that affect more than their own self-interest; and become hopeful about their ability to affect the world in positive ways. Denying felons the vote can only serve to stigmatize felons and exacerbate factors known to contribute to criminal behavior." Essentially, having the right to vote fosters an awareness of politics and community.

[Rebuttal]

V: Justice

--> Part of a jsut legal system.

VC: Equal Treatment of Citizens

--> I have 2 responses:

First, to actually achieve equality of citizens then it is imperative to give ex-felons the right to vote because they deserve their rights back, and have finished their time on incarceration.

Second, he never makes any link between his Value and Value criterion, so there is now way for him to achieve his value.

C1

--> If his logic is true then we should disenfranchise regular citizens who don't vote themselves.

--> He never makes any warrants,therefore it holds no water.

--> If my opponenet agrees that felons are still citizens, then the constitution states that al
Debate Round No. 1
farmboy22

Con

Well if they lost them for commiting a crime they should not be able to get them back.The way you put it they shouldn't be taken away to begin with so after they commite a crime they should be able to go back to there life without any changes so there rights haven't changed at all and it's like they didn't commited the crime at all.
LightC

Pro

"Well if they lost them for commiting a crime they should not be able to get them back.The way you put it they shouldn't be taken away to begin with so after they commite a crime they should be able to go back to there life without any changes so there rights haven't changed at all and it's like they didn't commited the crime at all."

--> I never said they should be taken away, however for the desirability of the resolution we need to also see the imapct of returning to society.

*He refutes none of my case, thus extend the whole thing.*
Debate Round No. 2
farmboy22

Con

they still should not be able to vote
LightC

Pro

um...my opponent barley responded. Extend my arguments again. I clearly won this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
Con simply failed to show up for the debate in any practical sense, so all of Pros arguments went unrefuted. For example, Con let Pro define the resolution to mean "some felons should .." That could have been disputed, but it wasn't.
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Vote Placed by philosphical 8 years ago
philosphical
farmboy22LightCTied
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