Thought Experiment: Why felons should be able to vote

by phil on Friday Jul 2, 2010 1:28 AM

Let's run a scenario where a society has ten people. If felons don't have the right to vote, then this is what could happen:

It starts out with 10 free, 0 jailed.

Then a measure passes 6-4 to jail druggies.

Now there are 9 free, 1 jailed.

Then a measure passes 5-4 to jail sodomizers.

Now there are 8 free, 2 jailed.

Then a measure passes 5-3 to jail abortionists.

Now there are 7 free, 3 jailed.

And then a measure passes 4-3 to jail anti-government protesters.

Now there are 6 free, 4 jailed.

As you can see, our hypothetical society went from having laws approved by a 6-person majority, to a tyranny by a 4-person minority. This is not hypothetical though, because there are millions of Americans who are disenfranchised because they used drugs, and who now don't have the power to re-define those very laws that disenfranchised them. Because of these laws (which are disproportionately applied to blacks), 13% of black males are unable to vote.

Democracy is government by the governed. It's that simple.

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