Bernie Sanders supports letting jailed felons vote in elections

Nora Nguyen
April 10, 2019

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are holding dueling events Saturday just days after Bernie Sanders won the campaign cash derby for the first quarter of the year.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) was asked a similar question during a recent forum on rural issues in Storm Lake, but she stopped short of saying felons in prison should be able to vote. However, Republican Iowa state senators effectively killed the legislation Friday, the Des Moines Register reported.

"And I don't think that's something that we can do at this point", said Sanders, who does support free college tuition and universal health care. As of now, convicted criminals have to have approval from the governor in order for their voting rights to be restored.

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Vermont and ME are the only two US states where imprisoned felons are not stripped of their voting rights.

One of Sanders' fellow Democratic contenders, Sen.

Thirteen states and Washington, D.C. now specifically prohibit felons from voting only while incarcerated. "You're paying a price, you committed a crime, you're in jail", he said in Muscatine.

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"You draw your own conclusions, but this is not something I suspected to hear a president of the United States of America ever say", the Texas Democrat concluded. "I believe in that, yes, I do".

Sanders also voted for the "Gang of Eight" immigration bill in 2013 that would have given amnesty to all of the people in the United States illegally. They are doing it because it buys them votes.

The 1994 crime bill ultimately failed to effect US mass incarceration rates because the federal prison legislation didn't impact the almost 87 percent of USA prisoners who are in state prisons.

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While many have vouched for the former approach, Sanders' comments contrasted with those of President Donald Trump, who railed against an attempt in 2016 for Virginia to expand voting rights to some convicted felons who had completed their sentences.

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