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Should felons be allowed to vote?
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Felons are still citizens

Although they are incarcerated, felons are still citizens of the United States. As citizens, they are entitled to voting rights. We should not take their rights away because of their incarceration.

The Argument

Although they are incarcerated, felons remain citizens of the United States. As citizens, they are guaranteed certain, inalienable rights. We should consider voting as one of these rights. A felon's incarceration does not make them completely separate from society. They will still be influenced by the decisions of elected officials like all other citizens and thus deserve to have their voices heard. Felons have a right to participate in democracy, regardless of their incarceration. Furthermore, the objective of incarceration should be to rehabilitate prisoners for future success in society. Disenfranchising felons only serves to alienate them. We cannot ask felons to pay their debt to society if we don't even preserve their right to participate in society. Why improve yourself for the community's sake if you are not even permitted to participate in it?

Counter arguments

A large part of imprisonment's punitive nature is losing certain freedoms. It is not undemocratic for one of these lost freedoms to be the right to vote. While serving their sentences, prisoners should lose their freedom to vote in the same way that they lose their freedom to choose their place of residence and move freely in society. Also, giving people who have displayed no respect for the country's laws a say in choosing them makes no sense. If a person doesn't respect the law enough to obey it, they shouldn't be allowed to participate in dictating it.



[P1] A person's incarceration does not change the fact that they are a citizen of a country. [P2] Felons are still directly influenced by elected officials, and should thus be allowed to participate in choosing them. [P3] It is unfair to ask felons to pay their debt to a society that they are not allowed to participate in at a basic level.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Bring imprisoned inherently means freedoms are taken away which are afforded to other members of society.


This page was last edited on Sunday, 19 Jul 2020 at 23:59 UTC

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