Bernie Sanders: Felons Should Be Able to Vote in Prison

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Bernie Sanders says felons should be able to vote from behind bars

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders wants convicted felons to be able to vote while still serving jail time.

During a speech at Muscatine’s West Middle School in Iowa, Sanders suggested that prisoners should be allowed to vote from behind bars ,according to the Des Moines Register.

“I think that is absolutely the direction we should go,” Sanders told the audience. reports: The Register reports that Sanders’ home state of Vermont, and neighboring state, Maine, allow convicted felons to vote while they serve their prison sentences — the only two states in the country who recognize that right. Approximately 14 other states have done away with the idea that those who have committed serious and often violent crimes should be permanently barred from casting a ballot.

“In my state, what we do is separate. You’re paying a price, you committed a crime, you’re in jail. That’s bad,” Sanders told his audience. “But you’re still living in American society and you have a right to vote. I believe in that, yes, I do.”

In Iowa, the state may restore voting rights to convicted felons who have served their sentence on a case-by-case basis, but they’ve only begun to explore the possibility of restoring voting rights to felons across the board. A bill designed to do just that — expand voting rights to the formerly incarcerated — is now on hold in the Iowa legislature for a year after it was voted down.

Democrats have been pushing for felon voting rights for some time, and have had recent success in states like Florida, where voting rights were restored to the state’s convicted felon community just after the 2018 elections (that extension, though, is now in doubt after the Florida House passed a bill requiring felons to pay back all court fees and fines before gaining full access to their voting rights).

Republicans have fired back, insisting that while felons who have served their time have paid their debts to society, their obvious disregard for the law should keep them from participating in the democratic process for the long term.

Sanders may not be championing prisoners’ rights out of the goodness of his heart. Over the weekend, it became clear that Sanders has been trying to distance himself from the rest of the pack of Democratic contenders, often with far more extreme progressive policy positions than are shared even by the most progressive of his competitors.

On Saturday, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined former Obama administration official Julian Castro, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) at a “presidential forum” in Storm Lake, Iowa, according to the Des Moines Register, but Sanders declined to participate, preferring to give his own speech at his own rally.

Warren and others were asked the same question as Sanders — whether they would support extending voting rights to felons — but even Warren, who is racing to be the most far left of the remaining candidates, demurred from suggesting that felons should be allowed to vote in prison.

Sean Adl-Tabatabai
About Sean Adl-Tabatabai 17883 Articles
Having cut his teeth in the mainstream media, including stints at the BBC, Sean witnessed the corruption within the system and developed a burning desire to expose the secrets that protect the elite and allow them to continue waging war on humanity. Disturbed by the agenda of the elites and dissatisfied with the alternative media, Sean decided it was time to shake things up. Knight of Joseon (