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Should Felons be Allowed to Vote?
Convicted felons in the United States (that is: sentenced of a crime punishable with at least one year in prison or death) should permanently lose their voting rights.
Removal of voting rights for convicted felons assists in reducing the crime rate.
A felon has violated the rules and laws of the American society and caused harm to its community; he/she should therefore not be part of the processes through which this society governs itself.
Individuals or political parties in power can write unfair laws which deliberately work to disenfranchise any racial or political groups who might oppose them.
Felon disenfranchisement goes against the American Constitution.
Felony disenfranchisement negatively affects electoral processes and therefore undermines democratic legitimacy.
A majority of states do not disenfranchise all current or ex-felons (
Leong, p. 2
) (though most states impose restrictions on those still in prison or on parole or probation). A majority of US citizens live in states that do not disenfranchise all current or ex-felons.
Voting is not a privilege that has to be earned by following the law but an inalienable right of every citizen in a democracy.
The ultimate goal of most punishments is to better the felon and to reintegrate them into society. Taking away the right to vote achieves the opposite by disenfranchising and alienating them from the rest of American society.
Democracy relies on a principle of equality of all individuals. Felon disenfranchisement violates this.
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