Bernie Sanders wants convicted sex offenders to vote on politicians who are creating laws impacting women and children.
And he wants convicted terrorists, such as Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, to influence elections, too.
During a CNN town hall meeting on Monday, Sanders was asked about his idea to let convicts vote from prison, and the questioner provided two specific examples: the domestic terrorist who killed or maimed hundreds of race goers in 2013, and people who commit crimes against women and children.
“If someone commits a serious crime — sexual assault, murder — they’re going to be punished,” Sanders said.
“They may be in jail for 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, their whole lives. That’s what happens when you commit a serious crime. But I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy — yes, even for terrible people,” the leading Democrat candidate said.
“Because once you start chipping away, and you say, ‘Well, that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote,’ or, ‘That person did that, not going to let that person vote,’ you’re running down a slippery slop,” Sanders told the Manchester, New Hampshire audience.
“So I believe people who commit crimes, they pay the price. But they get out of jail, I believe they should certainly have the right to vote. But I do believe 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,” he said.
Sanders blamed “cowardly Republican governors” for trying to “suppress the vote.”
“What we’re seeing is more young people getting involved in the political process, but not enough,” the candidate who has campaigned extensively on college campuses said.
“If young people voted at the same percentage that older people voted, we would transform this nation,” Sanders said.
Later on in the evening, Sen. Kamala Harris was asked about Sanders’s statement, and she responded, “I think we should have that conversation.”