Vermont Senator and Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (D-VT) said Monday that individuals like the Boston Bomber and those convicted of sexual assault should vote from prison.
Speaking during a CNN Townhall last night, Sanders was asked by a Harvard student whether he would support “enfranchising people like the Boston marathon bomber” and sexual assault convicts and grant them the right to vote.
The Senator then took the time to slam “cowardly” Republican governors for voter suppression before explaining that voting is an “inherent right” even for “terrible people.”
Now here is my view. If somebody commits a serious crime — sexual assault, murder, they’re going to be punished. They may be in jail for 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, their whole lives. That’s what happens when you commit a serious crime.
But I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people. Because once you start chipping away and you say, well, that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote; well, that person did that; not going to let that person vote — you’re running down a slippery slope.
So I believe that people who commit crimes, they pay the price. When they get out of jail, I believe they certainly should have the right to vote. But I do believe, even if they are in jail, they’re paying their price to society, but that should not take away their inherent American right to participate in our democracy.
Presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-CA) also responded to the question and said there should be a “conversation” about whether or not terrorists like the Boston bomber should have the right to vote from prison.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg disagreed, saying “Part of the punishment when you were convicted of a crime and you’re incarcerated is you lose certain rights, you lose your freedom.