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Re: Republicans

Post by Forty Two » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:26 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:09 pm
Retribution. The only thing the American so called "justice" system is about eh? Is that why you lock up 10% of your population? So they cant take part in a corrupt undemocratic system?
Retribution, Rehabilitation, and Deterrance would be the three main reasons, and the US system is not only about retribution.

The US does not lock up 10% of its population, but it does, IMO, lock up way too many.

Spending time in jail doesn't mean you can't participate in the system. Misdeanors (crimes punishable jail for less than 1 year) don't effect voting. Also, as has been pointed out, in most states having a felony conviction only bars you from voting while in jail or on probation/parole. Once time is served (in approx. 19 states) and probation/parole expired (in approximately 15 states), the right to vote comes back. And, in Maine and Vermont the right to vote never goes away based on criminal conviction. The rest of the states either allow the right to be reinstated by petition, or automatically depending on the nature/circumstances of the crime.

IMO, jail/prison is ineffective and counterproductive, and I wish the US would lead the world in creating a new, innovative means of punishing crime. For most crimes, particularly non-violent crimes, technology can be brought to bear to create a system of home detention which would obviate the need to warehouse people in prisons. Most drug offenses should be eliminated, and that would eliminate most of the prison population right there.
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Re: Republicans

Post by Scot Dutchy » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:57 pm

Here is how many people are locked up in OECD countries:

Image

Here is paper on both showing the terrible American "justice" system:

Incarceration and Recidivism: Lessons from Abroad
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Re: Republicans

Post by Forty Two » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:13 pm

As I said, the US incarcerates way too many people. Not the "10%" that you alleged, but way too many.

And, the biggest reason for that is the terrible war on drugs. That needs to end. Half of the federal prison population are in for drug offenses. They should be released tomorrow and drugs should be decriminalized. That would take a healthy chunk out of the prison population. Directly, that would take about half a million people out of prison. Indirectly, a large portion of violent offenders only committed their violent crimes due to their involvement in the illegal drug trade. The "war on drugs" is the cause of a lot of our prison population.

Too many people are in American prisons, and prisons don't work well in general. We have them now because people - the culture - thinks imprisoning prisoners for long periods of time is the natural way of handling crime. I don't think it needs to be. We need a creative solution, based on the magical technology we have. Given the capacity to track individuals, and view their activities real time and know their whereabouts, we should be able to get most convicts out of jail. The idea should be to at least not put them in "college" (as it's called by mobsters...).

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Re: Republicans

Post by Tero » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:26 pm

Magna Carta!
http://karireport.blogspot.com/ (:_funny_:)
http://esapolitics.blogspot.com/
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Re: Republicans

Post by Forty Two » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:31 pm

"Every socialistic type of government… produces bad art, produces social inertia, produces really unhappy people, and it's more repressive than any other kind of government." Frank Zappa.

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Re: Republicans

Post by Seabass » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:20 pm

Forty Two wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:14 pm
He's such a dumb-ass.
As long as you continue to support a president who is a climate denier, a hurricane death toll denier, a birther, an anti-vaxxer, pro asbestos, thinks Ted Cruz's dad killed JFK, and thinks three million illegals voted for Clinton in CA, you've got no business calling anyone a dumb-ass. There's probably more intellect and wit in John Oliver's nutsack than there is in the space where Trump's brain is supposed to be.
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Re: Republicans

Post by Seabass » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:23 pm

Forty Two wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:26 pm
IMO, jail/prison is ineffective and counterproductive, and I wish the US would lead the world in creating a new, innovative means of punishing crime. For most crimes, particularly non-violent crimes, technology can be brought to bear to create a system of home detention which would obviate the need to warehouse people in prisons. Most drug offenses should be eliminated, and that would eliminate most of the prison population right there.
You claim to support these things, and then vote Republican. Who's the dumb-ass?
Hey, Torquemada, whaddaya say?
I just got back from the auto-da-fé.
Auto-da-fé, what's an auto-da-fé?
It's what you oughtn't to do but you do anyway...

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Re: Republicans

Post by Sean Hayden » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:28 pm

I couldn't vote till my 30s. But surprisingly in Texas felons are allowed to vote. If Texas can do it...

I'm not surprised they aren't without jumping through a bunch of hoops in Florida. They have a reputation for that kind of thing. Remember, they're one of only a handful of states that tried to reduce welfare spending by piss testing recipients. :lol:
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Re: Republicans

Post by Brian Peacock » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm

Forty Two wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:03 pm
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:50 pm
Once your sentence has been served, and if all probationary conditions are being met, then you should be free to take part in the democratic process as outlined by the constitution on the same footing as everyone else.

If that's the proposition what's the best argument against it?
A serious offense of a violence, theft or significant fraud nature would be considered an offense against society itself and renders the convicted felon untrustworthy to participate in civil government, and loss of the right to vote would part of the sentence.

I think that only makes sense where felonies are a limited set of "non mistake" crimes.

I should clarify my posts on this topic that a felony is not supposed to be a "mistake" as the video portrays it, but in the last generation or so, the felonization of criminal law has so expanded the number of crimes considered felonies that it is said that the average person commits about three felonies per day without even knowing it.

So, I wouldn't want the right to vote to be lost for someone pranking their friend's facebook page by posting on there that they love Nickelback, or failing to adhere to the terms and conditions of a website (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act felony), but I really have no problem with murderers, rapists, and Ivan Boesky or Bernie Madoff losing their right to vote. So, to me, it depends.
I'm addressing the point quoted below...
"A serious offense of a violence, theft or significant fraud nature would be considered an offense against society itself and renders the convicted felon untrustworthy to participate in civil government, and loss of the right to vote would part of the sentence."
One might argue that committing any crime (or, more practically, being convicted of any criminal offence) in some way compromises the contract between the community and the individual. The consequences of a criminal conviction are invariably punitive, and generally speaking proportional to the seriousness or severity of the offence. But if severity of offence is to act as a determinant in judgements as to the 'trustworthiness' of an individual, and consequently impact their ability to take part in electoral processes, then certain questions arise: What level of trust must society have in any individual in order to ensure their vote is legitimate; what is the nature of that 'trust' and what exactly is society 'entrusting' voting citizens with, and; where does the demarcation between the trustworthy and the untrustworthy citizen reside, such that society might legitimately endorse or withhold any individual's ability to participate in democracy?

I'd suggest that the foundation of our modern democratic systems is participation, not trust. History and common sense tell us that the wider or broader the level of participation the more secure or robust our democratic institutions become. This is because, through our participation, our leaders and representatives are kept in-check and forced to conform to the common will--as Rousseau put it--to consider our interests as a higher priority than their own. Indeed, rights of Suffrage were so hard fought for by so many, and so trenchantly resisted by others, for this very reason.

Now we're asked to consider if the permanent dis-enfranchisement of a broad section of the community, which is to say, limiting participation rather than extending it, is a more desirable prospect because we cannot 'trust' a certain category of individual. And yet, all we are entrusting the previously convicted with is that they make a decision on their own behalf on the same grounds as everybody else - on the basis of their personal belief systems, ideologies, and policy preferences etc.

This trustworthiness argument seems bogus to me - or at the very least a red herring. It casts democracy as an exercise in trust rather than a participatory process, and suggests that it's not the untrustworthiness of someone with a criminal conviction per se which is really in question here but more that some think that they cannot be trusted to vote for the right candidate and/or for the right reasons - particularly because we wouldn't think of applying such 'trustworthiness' conditions to any non-criminal individual, no matter how ill-considered, ill-conceived, or odious their personal views may be or how untrustworthy they actually were. This renders the dis-enfranchise argument arbitrary.

As mentioned, the consequences of criminal conviction are punitive and applied by law and by degrees, but even when a sentence has been served, and all probationary conditions met, exclusionary systems place people who have paid their debt to society at the fringes of that society - it leaves them with no say in how that society, their society, might operate: it renders them democratically voiceless. In this regard, while we might regard the committing of a criminal act compromising to the social contract between the community and the individual, permanently excluding someone who has paid their social debts from democratic participation not only breaks that contract as well, but it ensures that it remains forever broken, and by that it systematically forecloses on the possibility of full rehabilitation and reintegration and on the individual assuming their full role as a citizen. Essentially, it criminalizes democratic participation.
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Republicans

Post by Forty Two » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:09 pm

Seabass wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:20 pm
Forty Two wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:14 pm
He's such a dumb-ass.
As long as you continue to support a president who is a climate denier, a hurricane death toll denier, a birther, an anti-vaxxer, pro asbestos, thinks Ted Cruz's dad killed JFK, and thinks three million illegals voted for Clinton in CA, you've got no business calling anyone a dumb-ass. There's probably more intellect and wit in John Oliver's nutsack than there is in the space where Trump's brain is supposed to be.
Whatever Trump is, John Oliver's rants are generally contrived bullshit.
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Re: Republicans

Post by Forty Two » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:33 pm

Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm

I'm addressing the point quoted below...
"A serious offense of a violence, theft or significant fraud nature would be considered an offense against society itself and renders the convicted felon untrustworthy to participate in civil government, and loss of the right to vote would part of the sentence."
One might argue that committing any crime (or, more practically, being convicted of any criminal offence) in some way compromises the contract between the community and the individual.
Sure, but there are degrees. I don't think speeding is the same thing as murder, nor would I want the rule to be that people who get speeding tickets lose their right to vote, but murderers, rapists, Ponzi schemers who bilk retirees out of millions.... not so sure that losing their right to vote is the same thing as punishing someone unfairly for a "mistake" they made in their salad days.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm

The consequences of a criminal conviction are invariably punitive, and generally speaking proportional to the seriousness or severity of the offence. But if severity of offence is to act as a determinant in judgements as to the 'trustworthiness' of an individual, and consequently impact their ability to take part in electoral processes, then certain questions arise: What level of trust must society have in any individual in order to ensure their vote is legitimate; what is the nature of that 'trust' and what exactly is society 'entrusting' voting citizens with, and; where does the demarcation between the trustworthy and the untrustworthy citizen reside, such that society might legitimately endorse or withhold any individual's ability to participate in democracy?
There are lot of potential answers to that question. The best I can say about what my view of it is -- is that that if we applied the "traditional" definition of what a felony is or should be, then losing the right to vote for commission of those crimes -- generally malum in se, rather than malum prohibtum -- and generally extremely serious crimes with mens rea of intent to commit the offense, etc. - we have a defined set of very serious circumstances which I have no serious quarrel with adding the loss of the right vote to the mix.

However, I have no serious quarrel with allowing them to vote either after their criminal sentence is served. I don't really think that we need to be catering to prison inmates, though, and perp-walking them to the voting booths or setting up prison voting booths.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm
I'd suggest that the foundation of our modern democratic systems is participation, not trust. History and common sense tell us that the wider or broader the level of participation the more secure or robust our democratic institutions become.
I don't know that this is true - what history are you referring to. I think common sense tells us that participation by those who care and are informed (hopefully a broad section of the populace cares and is informed, but if not, random votes by those who have little to no understanding of issues and events would not, applying common sense, seem to add anything good to the mix.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm

This is because, through our participation, our leaders and representatives are kept in-check and forced to conform to the common will--as Rousseau put it--to consider our interests as a higher priority than their own. Indeed, rights of Suffrage were so hard fought for by so many, and so trenchantly resisted by others, for this very reason.
Well, sure, the right to vote should not be taken away because some people are thought stupid, uninformed, or ill-suited to democracy. But, that, to me, is different from someone forfeiting their right to vote because they commit extremely serious crimes.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm


Now we're asked to consider if the permanent dis-enfranchisement of a broad section of the community, which is to say, limiting participation rather than extending it, is a more desirable prospect because we cannot 'trust' a certain category of individual. And yet, all we are entrusting the previously convicted with is that they make a decision on their own behalf on the same grounds as everybody else - on the basis of their personal belief systems, ideologies, and policy preferences etc.
I don't think we're being asked to consider that at all. In almost all of the US, there is no such "permanent" disenfranchisement. Overwhelmingly, state-by-state, the rule is that while serving their sentence, and sometimes through probation and parole, there is disenfranchisement, but then once that's all served and done, the right comes back either automatically, or in a handful of states through petition filed by the convicted person. The John Oliver nonsense implies, very strongly, that the rule in the US is that felons never get to vote again. That's not true, not even close.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm
This trustworthiness argument seems bogus to me - or at the very least a red herring. It casts democracy as an exercise in trust rather than a participatory process, and suggests that it's not the untrustworthiness of someone with a criminal conviction per se which is really in question here but more that some think that they cannot be trusted to vote for the right candidate and/or for the right reasons - particularly because we wouldn't think of applying such 'trustworthiness' conditions to any non-criminal individual, no matter how ill-considered, ill-conceived, or odious their personal views may be or how untrustworthy they actually were. This renders the dis-enfranchise argument arbitrary.

As mentioned, the consequences of criminal conviction are punitive and applied by law and by degrees, but even when a sentence has been served, and all probationary conditions met, exclusionary systems place people who have paid their debt to society at the fringes of that society - it leaves them with no say in how that society, their society, might operate: it renders them democratically voiceless.


In which states does this happen?

By your logic, why not make it so even convicts on death row get to vote?

I guess why not, indeed?

At bottom, I'm not strongly wedded to any position on this issue. It's a public policy issue to be decided by the voters in each State (or country). The US has been described as the most punitive in this regard. However, the wikipedia article on the topic (while saying the US is the most punitive) notes that very few states extend any voting disenfranchisement beyond completion of parole/probation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felony_disenfranchisement

Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm

In this regard, while we might regard the committing of a criminal act compromising to the social contract between the community and the individual, permanently excluding someone who has paid their social debts from democratic participation not only breaks that contract as well, but it ensures that it remains forever broken, and by that it systematically forecloses on the possibility of full rehabilitation and reintegration and on the individual assuming their full role as a citizen. Essentially, it criminalizes democratic participation.
Well, it doesn't seem as if the general rule in the US is permanent disenfranchisement. For most, the loss of the right ends when prison/parole/probation end. Sounds fair. The few states that go beyond that, typically it's based on specified circumstances of the crimes committed, and they will allow the right to be restored by petition.

I really think that a John Oliver rant on this was a bit misplaced, and overblown.

I think your position is very fair on this - a case can be made even beyond what you're saying - let them vote even while on prison, on death row for child rape and murder, or on work release from federal prison - whatever - but, to suggest that the US has some rule that forever bans any felon from voting is inaccurate. The vast vast majority of felons get their right to vote back after they finish their probation.
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Re: Republicans

Post by laklak » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:48 pm

Sean Hayden wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:28 pm
I couldn't vote till my 30s. But surprisingly in Texas felons are allowed to vote. If Texas can do it...

I'm not surprised they aren't without jumping through a bunch of hoops in Florida. They have a reputation for that kind of thing. Remember, they're one of only a handful of states that tried to reduce welfare spending by piss testing recipients. :lol:
We try to out-Texas Texas. You think that's Texas? Hold my beer....
Yeah well that's just, like, your opinion, man.

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Re: Republicans

Post by Brian Peacock » Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:06 pm

Forty Two wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:33 pm
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm

I'm addressing the point quoted below...
"A serious offense of a violence, theft or significant fraud nature would be considered an offense against society itself and renders the convicted felon untrustworthy to participate in civil government, and loss of the right to vote would part of the sentence."
One might argue that committing any crime (or, more practically, being convicted of any criminal offence) in some way compromises the contract between the community and the individual.
Sure, but there are degrees. I don't think speeding is the same thing as murder, nor would I want the rule to be that people who get speeding tickets lose their right to vote, but murderers, rapists, Ponzi schemers who bilk retirees out of millions.... not so sure that losing their right to vote is the same thing as punishing someone unfairly for a "mistake" they made in their salad days.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm

The consequences of a criminal conviction are invariably punitive, and generally speaking proportional to the seriousness or severity of the offence. But if severity of offence is to act as a determinant in judgements as to the 'trustworthiness' of an individual, and consequently impact their ability to take part in electoral processes, then certain questions arise: What level of trust must society have in any individual in order to ensure their vote is legitimate; what is the nature of that 'trust' and what exactly is society 'entrusting' voting citizens with, and; where does the demarcation between the trustworthy and the untrustworthy citizen reside, such that society might legitimately endorse or withhold any individual's ability to participate in democracy?
There are lot of potential answers to that question. The best I can say about what my view of it is -- is that that if we applied the "traditional" definition of what a felony is or should be, then losing the right to vote for commission of those crimes -- generally malum in se, rather than malum prohibtum -- and generally extremely serious crimes with mens rea of intent to commit the offense, etc. - we have a defined set of very serious circumstances which I have no serious quarrel with adding the loss of the right vote to the mix.

However, I have no serious quarrel with allowing them to vote either after their criminal sentence is served. I don't really think that we need to be catering to prison inmates, though, and perp-walking them to the voting booths or setting up prison voting booths.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm
I'd suggest that the foundation of our modern democratic systems is participation, not trust. History and common sense tell us that the wider or broader the level of participation the more secure or robust our democratic institutions become.
I don't know that this is true - what history are you referring to. I think common sense tells us that participation by those who care and are informed (hopefully a broad section of the populace cares and is informed, but if not, random votes by those who have little to no understanding of issues and events would not, applying common sense, seem to add anything good to the mix.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm

This is because, through our participation, our leaders and representatives are kept in-check and forced to conform to the common will--as Rousseau put it--to consider our interests as a higher priority than their own. Indeed, rights of Suffrage were so hard fought for by so many, and so trenchantly resisted by others, for this very reason.
Well, sure, the right to vote should not be taken away because some people are thought stupid, uninformed, or ill-suited to democracy. But, that, to me, is different from someone forfeiting their right to vote because they commit extremely serious crimes.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm


Now we're asked to consider if the permanent dis-enfranchisement of a broad section of the community, which is to say, limiting participation rather than extending it, is a more desirable prospect because we cannot 'trust' a certain category of individual. And yet, all we are entrusting the previously convicted with is that they make a decision on their own behalf on the same grounds as everybody else - on the basis of their personal belief systems, ideologies, and policy preferences etc.
I don't think we're being asked to consider that at all. In almost all of the US, there is no such "permanent" disenfranchisement. Overwhelmingly, state-by-state, the rule is that while serving their sentence, and sometimes through probation and parole, there is disenfranchisement, but then once that's all served and done, the right comes back either automatically, or in a handful of states through petition filed by the convicted person. The John Oliver nonsense implies, very strongly, that the rule in the US is that felons never get to vote again. That's not true, not even close.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm
This trustworthiness argument seems bogus to me - or at the very least a red herring. It casts democracy as an exercise in trust rather than a participatory process, and suggests that it's not the untrustworthiness of someone with a criminal conviction per se which is really in question here but more that some think that they cannot be trusted to vote for the right candidate and/or for the right reasons - particularly because we wouldn't think of applying such 'trustworthiness' conditions to any non-criminal individual, no matter how ill-considered, ill-conceived, or odious their personal views may be or how untrustworthy they actually were. This renders the dis-enfranchise argument arbitrary.

As mentioned, the consequences of criminal conviction are punitive and applied by law and by degrees, but even when a sentence has been served, and all probationary conditions met, exclusionary systems place people who have paid their debt to society at the fringes of that society - it leaves them with no say in how that society, their society, might operate: it renders them democratically voiceless.


In which states does this happen?

By your logic, why not make it so even convicts on death row get to vote?

I guess why not, indeed?

At bottom, I'm not strongly wedded to any position on this issue. It's a public policy issue to be decided by the voters in each State (or country). The US has been described as the most punitive in this regard. However, the wikipedia article on the topic (while saying the US is the most punitive) notes that very few states extend any voting disenfranchisement beyond completion of parole/probation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felony_disenfranchisement

Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm

In this respect, while we might regard the committing of a criminal act compromising to the social contract between the community and the individual, permanently excluding someone who has paid their social debts from democratic participation not only breaks that contract as well, but it ensures that it remains forever broken, and by that it systematically forecloses on the possibility of full rehabilitation and reintegration and on the individual assuming their full role as a citizen. Essentially, it criminalizes democratic participation.
Well, it doesn't seem as if the general rule in the US is permanent disenfranchisement. For most, the loss of the right ends when prison/parole/probation end. Sounds fair. The few states that go beyond that, typically it's based on specified circumstances of the crimes committed, and they will allow the right to be restored by petition.

I really think that a John Oliver rant on this was a bit misplaced, and overblown.

I think your position is very fair on this - a case can be made even beyond what you're saying - let them vote even while on prison, on death row for child rape and murder, or on work release from federal prison - whatever - but, to suggest that the US has some rule that forever bans any felon from voting is inaccurate. The vast vast majority of felons get their right to vote back after they finish their probation.
The argument as stated was that those convicted of the most serious felonies should forfeit their right to vote. That is what we were being asked to consider - an argument against the proposition that individuals should be allowed to vote after completing their sentence as long as all probationary conditions are being met.

The proposition was not that permanent disenfranchisement is the general rule in the US. That said, Iowa, Kentucky and Florida permanently disenfranchise all convicted felons, Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Terseness, Wyoming, permanently disenfranchise those convicted of specified felonies and/or those with multiple felony convictions. Of the remainder the vast majority of states withhold voting rights until all phases of a conviction have been completed, California, Colorado, Connecticut, and Louisiana conditionally restore voting rights on release from prison, while Maine and Vermont are the only states not to operate some form of disenfranchisement for those with criminal convictions. (Brennan Center for Justice)

I'd accept that there may be great public reticence for giving prisoners the vote, but those released under licence, or those awarded a non-custodial sentence should certainly be at liberty to vote as long as they meet their probationary conditions. The reason for this were mentioned above: that in a secure or robust democracy citizen voting impacts directly on public policy, that democracy is secured by maximising participation, and that limiting participation for certain sections of the community is not only socially unjust but, through a deliberate skewing of the common will, it renders the resultant democracy illegitimate through systems of deliberate exclusion. Similar issue arise when we consider systems of so-called 'voter suppression', but we can leave that aside for the moment.

What I'm interested in are not descriptions of those who may or may not deserve to be disenfranchised, but why the disenfranchisement of certain individuals might be considered reasonable and/or appropriate in the first place.
.

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There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia."

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"This is how humanity ends; bickering over the irrelevant."
Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Scot Dutchy
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Re: Republicans

Post by Scot Dutchy » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:22 am

Anyway it makes fuck all difference in a system like that of the USA. It is so corrupt a few thousand votes mean nothing. Joe Kennedy bought the election for Jack. The Russians did it for Trump.
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Forty Two
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Re: Republicans

Post by Forty Two » Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:56 pm

Brian Peacock wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:06 pm
Forty Two wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:33 pm
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm

I'm addressing the point quoted below...
"A serious offense of a violence, theft or significant fraud nature would be considered an offense against society itself and renders the convicted felon untrustworthy to participate in civil government, and loss of the right to vote would part of the sentence."
One might argue that committing any crime (or, more practically, being convicted of any criminal offence) in some way compromises the contract between the community and the individual.
Sure, but there are degrees. I don't think speeding is the same thing as murder, nor would I want the rule to be that people who get speeding tickets lose their right to vote, but murderers, rapists, Ponzi schemers who bilk retirees out of millions.... not so sure that losing their right to vote is the same thing as punishing someone unfairly for a "mistake" they made in their salad days.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm

The consequences of a criminal conviction are invariably punitive, and generally speaking proportional to the seriousness or severity of the offence. But if severity of offence is to act as a determinant in judgements as to the 'trustworthiness' of an individual, and consequently impact their ability to take part in electoral processes, then certain questions arise: What level of trust must society have in any individual in order to ensure their vote is legitimate; what is the nature of that 'trust' and what exactly is society 'entrusting' voting citizens with, and; where does the demarcation between the trustworthy and the untrustworthy citizen reside, such that society might legitimately endorse or withhold any individual's ability to participate in democracy?
There are lot of potential answers to that question. The best I can say about what my view of it is -- is that that if we applied the "traditional" definition of what a felony is or should be, then losing the right to vote for commission of those crimes -- generally malum in se, rather than malum prohibtum -- and generally extremely serious crimes with mens rea of intent to commit the offense, etc. - we have a defined set of very serious circumstances which I have no serious quarrel with adding the loss of the right vote to the mix.

However, I have no serious quarrel with allowing them to vote either after their criminal sentence is served. I don't really think that we need to be catering to prison inmates, though, and perp-walking them to the voting booths or setting up prison voting booths.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm
I'd suggest that the foundation of our modern democratic systems is participation, not trust. History and common sense tell us that the wider or broader the level of participation the more secure or robust our democratic institutions become.
I don't know that this is true - what history are you referring to. I think common sense tells us that participation by those who care and are informed (hopefully a broad section of the populace cares and is informed, but if not, random votes by those who have little to no understanding of issues and events would not, applying common sense, seem to add anything good to the mix.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm

This is because, through our participation, our leaders and representatives are kept in-check and forced to conform to the common will--as Rousseau put it--to consider our interests as a higher priority than their own. Indeed, rights of Suffrage were so hard fought for by so many, and so trenchantly resisted by others, for this very reason.
Well, sure, the right to vote should not be taken away because some people are thought stupid, uninformed, or ill-suited to democracy. But, that, to me, is different from someone forfeiting their right to vote because they commit extremely serious crimes.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm


Now we're asked to consider if the permanent dis-enfranchisement of a broad section of the community, which is to say, limiting participation rather than extending it, is a more desirable prospect because we cannot 'trust' a certain category of individual. And yet, all we are entrusting the previously convicted with is that they make a decision on their own behalf on the same grounds as everybody else - on the basis of their personal belief systems, ideologies, and policy preferences etc.
I don't think we're being asked to consider that at all. In almost all of the US, there is no such "permanent" disenfranchisement. Overwhelmingly, state-by-state, the rule is that while serving their sentence, and sometimes through probation and parole, there is disenfranchisement, but then once that's all served and done, the right comes back either automatically, or in a handful of states through petition filed by the convicted person. The John Oliver nonsense implies, very strongly, that the rule in the US is that felons never get to vote again. That's not true, not even close.
Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm
This trustworthiness argument seems bogus to me - or at the very least a red herring. It casts democracy as an exercise in trust rather than a participatory process, and suggests that it's not the untrustworthiness of someone with a criminal conviction per se which is really in question here but more that some think that they cannot be trusted to vote for the right candidate and/or for the right reasons - particularly because we wouldn't think of applying such 'trustworthiness' conditions to any non-criminal individual, no matter how ill-considered, ill-conceived, or odious their personal views may be or how untrustworthy they actually were. This renders the dis-enfranchise argument arbitrary.

As mentioned, the consequences of criminal conviction are punitive and applied by law and by degrees, but even when a sentence has been served, and all probationary conditions met, exclusionary systems place people who have paid their debt to society at the fringes of that society - it leaves them with no say in how that society, their society, might operate: it renders them democratically voiceless.


In which states does this happen?

By your logic, why not make it so even convicts on death row get to vote?

I guess why not, indeed?

At bottom, I'm not strongly wedded to any position on this issue. It's a public policy issue to be decided by the voters in each State (or country). The US has been described as the most punitive in this regard. However, the wikipedia article on the topic (while saying the US is the most punitive) notes that very few states extend any voting disenfranchisement beyond completion of parole/probation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felony_disenfranchisement

Brian Peacock wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:59 pm

In this respect, while we might regard the committing of a criminal act compromising to the social contract between the community and the individual, permanently excluding someone who has paid their social debts from democratic participation not only breaks that contract as well, but it ensures that it remains forever broken, and by that it systematically forecloses on the possibility of full rehabilitation and reintegration and on the individual assuming their full role as a citizen. Essentially, it criminalizes democratic participation.
Well, it doesn't seem as if the general rule in the US is permanent disenfranchisement. For most, the loss of the right ends when prison/parole/probation end. Sounds fair. The few states that go beyond that, typically it's based on specified circumstances of the crimes committed, and they will allow the right to be restored by petition.

I really think that a John Oliver rant on this was a bit misplaced, and overblown.

I think your position is very fair on this - a case can be made even beyond what you're saying - let them vote even while on prison, on death row for child rape and murder, or on work release from federal prison - whatever - but, to suggest that the US has some rule that forever bans any felon from voting is inaccurate. The vast vast majority of felons get their right to vote back after they finish their probation.
The argument as stated was that those convicted of the most serious felonies should forfeit their right to vote. That is what we were being asked to consider - an argument against the proposition that individuals should be allowed to vote after completing their sentence as long as all probationary conditions are being met.
Well, if the proposition is whether individuals should be allowed to vote after completing their sentence, as long as their probationary periods have been met, my answer would be that for most crimes they should be allowed to vote after competing their sentence, and actually I think they should be allowed to vote even while in jail (by write in). I see some sense in a law, though, that for very serious offenses, particularly those involving violence, serious theft, rape and serioius bodily harm crimes, and crimes involving frauds and such, and certainly any crime that goes to the integrity of an election (like voter fraud, voter registration fraud, multiple voting, ballot box stuffing, and the like) the loss of the right to vote may make sense. Perhaps with a route to have the disenfranchisement removed via petition for good cause shown (as defined by some factors set out by law).

What I'm interested in are not descriptions of those who may or may not deserve to be disenfranchised, but why the disenfranchisement of certain individuals might be considered reasonable and/or appropriate in the first place.
I gave you the reason why I could think of which would apply to very serious offenders. As I said, the over-felonization of American law these days really militates against any such reason that would or may apply to serious or significant offenders.
"Every socialistic type of government… produces bad art, produces social inertia, produces really unhappy people, and it's more repressive than any other kind of government." Frank Zappa.

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