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Should felons be allowed to vote? Show more Show less
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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?

Some felons should retain their voting rights Show more Show less

If a felon has not committed a major crime involving a human rights violation, they should be able to vote.
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Felons who have not committed egregious crimes should be able to vote

If a person has not grievously violated someone else's rights, they should retain their right to vote. Disenfranchising people for minor felonies is excessive.

The Argument

We should restore the voting rights of felons who have not committed egregious crimes. If a person has not seriously violated the rights of someone else, it is unnecessary to take away one of their basic rights. A person's punishment should fit their crime, so disenfranchising prisoners who have committed only minor felonies is excessive and harsh. Also, there is evidence that restoring felon voting rights could lead to less risk of re-imprisonment. According to the Sentencing Project, "among individuals who had been arrested previously, 27 percent of non-voters were rearrested, compared with 12 percent of voters."[1] If this is true, restoring felons' voting rights could alleviate the strain on public prisons and defense programs. This could also help felons re-adjust to society. By participating in our democracy, former prisoners will feel more accepted by their communities. They will have incentive to better themselves for society's sake, knowing that becoming more informed and contributing to the common good will help them to use their voting rights responsibly.

Counter arguments

Felons have proven that they do not deserve to vote. Even if they have not committed horrific crimes, felons have shown that they do not value the community's wellbeing. Since only people who value the common good should vote and felons have proven that they do not, they should be disenfranchised.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/felony-disenfranchisement-a-primer/

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This page was last edited on Friday, 24 Jul 2020 at 01:23 UTC