Bernie Sanders: Felons in Prison should be Allowed to Vote

At a 2020 presidential campaign stop in Iowa, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is currently second behind former Vice President Joe Biden (who hasn’t formally announced) in all the polls, was probed on his views of felon voting rights.

States like Florida are now beginning to restore voting rights to released felons, after they finish serving their sentence. While only two states, Vermont and Maine, allow convicted felons the right to vote from behind bars, Senator Sanders wants to push that agenda on a nationwide basis.

According to a report by the Des Moines Register, during the Town Hall meeting in Muscatine’s West Middle School gymnasium, when asked about granting imprisoned felons the right to vote, he said “I think that is absolutely the direction we should go.” He continued with, “in my state, what we do is separate. You’re paying a price, you committed a crime, you’re in jail. That’s bad, but you’re still living in American society and you have a right to vote. I believe in that, yes, I do.”

The furthest some Republicans and most Democrats have gone is to advocate for restoring voting rights after they’re released, not during their sentence.

When asked the same question at a separate town hall meeting, Senator Warren skirted around a direct answer, saying it was something that “we can have more conversation about.” Warren clearly wants to avoid taking such a radical position with her poll numbers struggling.

The typical justification is that ‘mass incarceration’ of minorities unfairly disproportionately strips the right to vote from millions of black Americans in an attempt to disenfranchise their voice. However, according to The Election Project, black voter turn out is about equal, if not greater than white voter turn out as early as 2004.

People on the right would argue that by breaking the law, and usually harming others in the process, convicted and imprisoned felons do not deserve the right to vote as they have shown great disregard for the law and have such been removed from the whole of society as punishment. Those with no current stake in the country, fore they are in a cell for damaging society, do not deserve say in the crafting of new laws, at least until they have paid their debt to society.



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