Bernie Sanders Says States Should Allow Felons To Vote While Incarcerated

MUSCATINE, Ia. — While Iowa struggles on whether to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their prison sentences, 2020 POTUS hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders said people convicted of felonies should never lose access to the ballot box in the first place.

At a town hall meeting in Muscatine’s West Middle School gymnasium Saturday, the Vermont senator was asked whether the imprisoned should have the right to vote. Only his home state and Maine allow felons to vote from behind bars.

“I think that is absolutely the direction we should go,” he said.

While most states disenfranchise felons, Sanders said the convicted still have a right to participate in elections.

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

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was asked about the issue during a recent forum on rural issues in Storm Lake. She said felons who have served their time deserve the franchise. But Warren stopped short of saying those in prison should be able to vote.

“While they’re incarcerated, I think that’s something we can have more conversation about,” she said.

Sanders skipped that presidential forum, which Warren, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former U.S. housing secretary Julián Castro, former Maryland U.S. Rep. John Delaney and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan attended.

In Iowa, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has advocated this year for a constitutional amendment to allow people convicted of felonies to automatically have their voting rights restored once they have served their sentence. Right now, Iowa is one of two states that only allow felons to vote if a governor gives them permission. 

But hopes for Iowa to start the years long process to approve that constitutional amendment were dashed this week when the Republican-controlled Senate thwarted the plan, likely killing it for the year. The Republican-controlled House overwhelmingly approved the plan earlier.

Source: by Kevin Hardy | Des Moines Register

1 thought on “Bernie Sanders Says States Should Allow Felons To Vote While Incarcerated

  1. Glenda T. Goode

    The founders saw that the franchise was a privilege that free citizens in good standing should enjoy. While you may definitely call the vote a right and I will not disagree, I do believe that those who have demonstrated that they disrespect society sufficiently that their conduct merits incarceration should not enjoy this privilege until such a time where they have been rehabilitated and returned to society.

    Much like granting the vote to 16 year olds would be wrong because empowering people who have no responsibility for their own lives and therefore are unable to make informed choices regarding the governance of the society, felons in prison are equally as incapable of exercising the same choices due to their lack of sound judgement on their parts.

    Obviously the issue is driven by democrats desperately trying to gain support in an election they will be hard pressed to win due to their own fragmented and vitriolic rhetoric.

    Liked by 1 person


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