PDC Homepage

Home » Products » Purchase

Social Theory and Practice

ONLINE FIRST

published on February 17, 2017

Matt Whitt
DOI: 10.5840/soctheorpract20172145

Felon Disenfranchisement and Democratic Legitimacy

Philosophers 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.

Not yet a subscriber? Subscribe here
Already a subscriber? Login here

This document is only accessible with a subscription