Social Theory and Practice 43 (2):283-311 (2017)

Matt S. Whitt
Duke University
Political theorists have long criticized policies that deny voting rights to convicted felons. However, some have recently turned to democratic theory to defend this practice, arguing that democratic self-determination justifies, or even requires, disenfranchising felons. I review these new arguments, acknowledge their force against existing criticism, and then offer a new critique of disenfranchisement that engages them on their own terms. Using democratic theory’s “all-subjected principle,” I argue that liberal democracies undermine their own legitimacy when they deny the vote to felons and prisoners. I then show how this argument overcomes obstacles that cause problems for other critiques of disenfranchisement.
Keywords punishment  voting  prison  political rights  disenfranchisement  Altman  López-Guerra  Sigler  Ramsay
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Reprint years 2017
ISBN(s) 0037-802X
DOI 10.5840/soctheorpract20172145
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References found in this work BETA

The Legitimacy of the People.Sofia Näsström - 2007 - Political Theory 35 (5):624-658.
Enfranchising Minors and the Mentally Impaired.Claudio López-Guerra - 2012 - Social Theory and Practice 38 (1):115-138.
Against a Minimum Voting Age.Philip Cook - 2013 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 16 (3):439-458.

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Citations of this work BETA

A Life Plan Principle of Voting Rights.Kim Angell - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (1):125-139.

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