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< Back to question Should felons be allowed to vote? Show more Show less

According to the Sentencing Project, an estimated 6.1 million Americans have lost their voting rights because of felony disenfranchisement laws as of 2016. Lawmakers are divided about its implications: what constitutes human rights and what justifies taking them away, especially given a justice system that disproportionately imprisons minorities and the poor?

Felons should be allowed to vote once they have served their sentence Show more Show less

Once a sentence has been served, felons should not have to be continually punished. All of their rights should be reinstated.
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Felons have paid their debt to society

By serving their sentence, felons have repaid their debt to society. Disenfranchisement means they are continually punished.
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The Argument

Imprisonment is a punishment for crime. Once a felon leaves prison, they have completed their punishment and repaid their debt to society. After a felon leaves prison, their punishment is over. Because of this, it is unfair for the state to punish them further by restricting their voting rights.

Counter arguments

The situation is not so straightforward that we can say that once a felon leaves prison, they are finished with their punishment. The State has numerous mechanisms to mediate felons' returns into wider society, such as probation. All of their rights and freedoms are not automatically reafforded to them, and voting should be no different.


[P1] The state dictated a punishment for a crime felons committed, and they completed this punishment. [P2] They should not continue to be punished for this.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Just because they have served a sentence does not mean felons have proved they deserve to vote.



    This page was last edited on Friday, 24 Jul 2020 at 19:14 UTC


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