Senators Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris Monday night indicated that they would both support a change in voting laws that would allow incarcerated sex offenders, murderers and even terrorists like the Boston marathon bomber the right to vote.
In Manchester, New Hampshire, CNN hosted five back-to-back 2020 town halls featuring Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
The five Democratic presidential hopefuls answered a variety of questions, including the voting rights question.
Asked whether he believed violent felons like the Boston Bomber should be allowed to vote, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders answered that he believes everyone should have the right to vote.
WATCH: @BernieSanders says convicted criminals – and even terrorists like the Boston Marathon bomber – should be allowed to vote.
The socialist lost even CNN with this one… pic.twitter.com/8q7AGKMOj9
— BlazeTV (@BlazeTV) April 23, 2019
“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 slope,” he said.
During the annual Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, Chechen Kyrgyzstani-American brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated two homemade pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the race, killing three people–including an eight year old boy–and injuring several hundred others, including 16 who lost limbs.
During Kamala Harris’ town hall, moderator Don Lemon brought up the question again.
“Senator Bernie Sanders said that he is in favor of felons being able to vote while serving in prison,” Lemon said. “He was asked specifically about people like the Boston Marathon bomber, also people who are convicted of sexual assault. This is what he said: ‘The right to vote is inherent to our democracy — yes even for terrible people.'”
Lemon asked Harris if she agreed with Sanders’ on that point.
“I agree that the right to vote is one of the very important components of citizenship,” Harris replied. “And it is something that people should– um– should not be stripped of needlessly which is why I have been long an advocate of making sure that the formerly incarcerated are not denied a right to vote — which is the case in so many states in out country. In some states permanently deprived of the right to vote,” she said.
Harris, unable to resist using racial politics as a crutch, added: “these are policies that go back to Jim Crow, these are policies that go back to the heart of policies that have been about disenfranchisement, policies that continue until today, and we need to take it seriously.”
Lemon seemed taken aback by her answer. “But people who are convicted — in prison — like the Boston Marathon bomber. People on death row, people convicted of sexual assault. They should be allowed to vote?” he pressed.
“I think we should have that conversation,” Harris replied.
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, IN. told Lemon that he doesn’t think people who are incarcerated should be allowed to vote, but the right to vote should be restored to people who have served their sentences.
“No,” he said. “I do believe that when you are, when you have served your sentence, then part of being restored to society is that you are part of the political life of this nation again and one of the things that needs to be restored is your right to vote.”