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Should felons be allowed to vote?
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The criminal justice system targets minorities

Felons are disproportionately comprised of minorities, particularly African-American men. Felony disenfranchisement is thus a legal means of suppressing their votes.

The Argument

The criminal justice system's racial disparities show that felony disenfranchisement is an indication of racism. According to the Sentencing Project, one-third of African-American men in the U.S. have a felony. [1]In fact, African-Americans comprise almost 40% of prison inmates despite making up only 12% of the population. [2] Furthermore, "1 of every 13 African-Americans has lost their voting rights due to felony disenfranchisement laws, vs. 1 in every 56 non-black voters." [3] This shows that disenfranchisement serves to prevent African-Americans specifically from voting. It is ultimately a way for the government to legally discriminate against the African-American population and has even been called the "New Jim Crow." [4] Incarceration statistics indicate that this disparity also applies to other minority populations. For example, "Hispanic men are 2.3 times are likely as white men to be incarcerated." [5] Thus, the United State's incarceration system has served to subjugate minorities by finding a legal means of taking away their voting rights.

Counter arguments

Disenfranchising felons is not a racially discriminatory practice. The criminal justice system disenfranchises all felons, not only minorities. The overrepresentation of minorities in felon disenfranchisement is merely an unfortunate coincidence.



[P1] The criminal justice system disproportionately targets minorities, especially African-American men. [P2] Felony disenfranchisement is an intentional effort to take away minorities' voting rights.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Not letting felons vote is nothing to do with race; it is about looking out for the good of society.


This page was last edited on Friday, 24 Jul 2020 at 01:20 UTC

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