Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VA, endorsed a policy at a CNN Town Hall Monday night that even “terrible people” like the Boston Marathon bomber should have the right to vote from prison.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA, said the idea is “worth a conversation.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders says the right to vote should be extended “even for terrible people” like Boston Marathon bomber https://t.co/FU8heYkpHd pic.twitter.com/wY7rZlxeTz— POLITICO (@politico) April 23, 2019
Sanders was asked by a Harvard student to clarify his position that convicted felons should be able to vote while serving time in prison.
“Does this mean that you would support enfranchising people like the Boston Marathon bomber, a convicted terrorist and murderer?” the student asked Sanders. “Do you think that those convicted of sexual assault should have the opportunity to vote for politicians who could have a direct impact on women’s rights?”
Sanders responded saying “…I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy — yes, even for terrible people. I do believe that 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,”
The Democratic presidential candidate also commented that despite the blowback he knew he would face, he had to stick by his beliefs.
The last candidate in the town hall, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, immediately rejected the proposal.
“Enfranchisement upon release is important, but part of the punishment … is you lose certain rights,” Buttigieg said. “You lose your freedom. And I don’t think during that time it makes sense to have that exception.”