a guest Apr 23rd, 2019 99 Never
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- Recently Bernie sanders is being criticized for supporting the right to vote for convicted felons.
- Not a Bernie fan boy, but let me explain why i agree with this.
- The question was raised, then framed by asking if the Boston Bomber should have the right to vote. Seems like most people would say NO WAY.
- But what if the question was phrased this way, "Would you support a law that took away the right to vote for 20,000 innocent americans?"
- Would you support a law that is likely to take away voting rights from 10% of the african american population?
- Hmmm now its not so easy is it? Of course that is the reason the question was framed the way it was. It took a broad issue and laid a trap using a very specific application. Classic move.
- So what about this issue? How can i defend the right for a convicted felon to vote?
- 1: Tyranny
- Giving the government the power to take your right to vote away by putting you in prison is incredibly foolish. If you can't see the problem with that...then we need to have a much longer conversation and some history lessons.
- 2: Wrongful Conviction
- For the sake of this point we will focus on the cases where a convicted felonis currently in prison, and therefore unable to vote. (There are many states that prohibit voting even after completing your sentence)
- At any given time the number of felons in the US currently serving a sentence is roughly 1.4 million
- Now how many of those "criminals" are actually innocent citizens who are wrongfully convicted?
- Obviously this is a VERY difficult statistic to track. But even if you go with the most conservative estimate possible (1%)...thats 20,000 innocent people that are stripped of their right to vote if felons can't vote.
- But it gets worse the more you look into the figures. In 25% of known wrongful convictions, the individual gave a false confession! Combine that with the fact that >95% of all cases end in a plea deal (NO FAIR TRIAL). Now we can very reasonably suggest the possiblity that 1/4 of convicted felons could potentiall be wrongful convictions! Now we are talking 350,000 innocent people being stripped of their right to vote.
- 3: Democracy
- This is the most powerful arguement and it takes the most critical thinking. First we have to address WHY most of us feel the natural desire to say, "The Boston bomber should not be able to vote". Well, mostly because it feels like someone who blows up innocent people has sufficiently demonstrated their horrible decsion making abilities. We are afraid that this person would vote for something we don't approve of. Afraid that the Boston Bomber would have some influence over society and/or my life. But the very core of democracy is accepting the fact that other people are going to vote for things i don't want, or even things that are harmful towards me. As long as the evil people of our society remain a tiny minority, then we are safe because democracy provides inherent protection from the will of the few over the many. If however the majority of our society is made up of boston bombers...then no amount of laws will be sufficent to protect you.
- 4: BONUS POINT: Do votes really even matter?!
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