Apr 23, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Sanders supports voting rights even for convicted terrorists and sex offenders

Responding to a question about whether the Boston Marathon bomber should have his voting rights restored, Sen. Bernie Sanders said during CNN's presidential town hall that the right to vote is inherent, even for people convicted of sexual violence and terrorism charges.

"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 slop. ... I believe even if they're in jail they're paying their price to society, but that should not take away their American right to participate in our democracy. ... I think I have written many 30 second opposition ads throughout my life. This will be just another one."

The backdrop: During a campaign stop in Iowa earlier this month, Sanders said that people convicted of felonies should "absolutely" be able to vote while behind bars, calling on more states to join Vermont and Maine in allowing the practice. Sanders is the first 2020 candidate to publicly support this idea.

Go deeper