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Should felons be allowed to vote? Show more Show less

States within the U.S. differ significantly on policies relating to the disenfranchisement of felons. While on the one hand felons should be punished for disrespect of the law, they are also citizens with the right to be represented like anyone else. So, should felons never be able to vote again? Should they be granted the right to vote once they have completed their sentence? Or should they never lose the right to vote, even whilst serving their sentence?

Felons should never be allowed to vote Show more Show less

Felons have displayed a disrespect for society and should permanently lose their right to vote.
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Felons have not proved that they should be allowed to vote

Simply serving a sentence does not prove that a felon deserves to be able to vote.

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Context

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The Argument

By committing a crime, felons have shown they are not responsible enough to vote. They have displayed extremely poor moral character, and society does not benefit by then allowing them to vote. Felons should have to prove they deserve to vote, and this is not done simply by serving a government-mandated sentence.

Counter arguments

There is no moral character requirement for voting. Many members of society may have poor moral character without being convicted of felonies, and their right to vote is never in question. Judging someone by their past actions, which they have paid for in the eyes of the law, is undemocratic. Additionally, there is no proof that every felon has poor moral character. People may be convicted for any number of reasons: due to poverty or self-defence, or even being wrongly convicted. The criminal justice system is not perfect, and should not be used as an excuse to continually disenfranchise felons.

Framing

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Premises

[P1] It is only desirable that citizens with a certain amount of moral character be able to vote. [P2] Felons have not proved they are responsible enough to vote just by serving their sentence.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] There is no 'moral character' test for voting, and to judge felons on this basis is unfair.

Proponents

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This page was last edited on Friday, 24 Jan 2020 at 12:29 UTC