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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 able to vote even while in prison Show more Show less

All citizens should have the right to vote regardless of their circumstances.
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Voting is a right

All citizens have the right to vote. We should not deprive anyone, even prisoners, of this right, because it is fundamental to democracy. Disenfranchising certain people gives the government more room to deprive others of voting rights.
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Proponents


The Argument

Voting is a fundamental part of democracy. It is a basic right that ensures all citizens can have an equal say in choosing their elected officials. By virtue of being a country's citizen, a prisoner deserves the right to vote. The state should not be able to take this right away because of someone's actions, especially when over 50% of felonies are non-violent.[1] If we create criteria that people must meet to retain their voting rights, the government could expand these to disenfranchise more and more people. This could lead to a society in which the government essentially chooses who can and cannot vote. Religious, political, and ethnic minorities could lose their voting rights because of the government's disapproval.

Counter arguments

Voting is not a right that is afforded to everyone. It is not ratified in the Constitution,[2] and some people, like children or people who aren't citizens, are unable to vote. While voting may be an important part of democracy, it is not something that should inherently be afforded to everyone. It is a privilege that people must earn. Felons have proven that they do not deserve this privilege.

Premises

[P1] Voting is a fundamental right. [P2] Those imprisoned should not be deprived of this right. [P3] The government could expand voting criteria to disenfranchise more and more people.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Voting is not an inherent right.

References

  1. https://felonvoting.procon.org/sourcefiles/USBJS%20-Prisoners%20in%202013.pdf
  2. https://democracyjournal.org/magazine/28/the-missing-right-a-constitutional-right-to-vote/

This page was last edited on Friday, 24 Jul 2020 at 01:17 UTC

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