Recently, during a CNN town hall event, 2020 hopeful Bernie Sanders made a controversial statement when he declared that all U.S. prisoners should be able to vote.
This includes murderers, terrorists, and child molesters.
However, it turns out not a whole lot of Americans agree with Bernie. A new poll reveals that 75 percent of Americans disagree with allowing prisoners to vote.
The Hill reported that Sanders argued Monday that all prisoners, including domestic terrorists such as the Boston Marathon bomber, should have the right to vote while they are incarcerated.
Speaking at a CNN town hall, Sanders was asked if he believes the right to vote should extend to serious criminals, such as Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is in prison and has been sentenced to death.
“If somebody 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,” he continued. “Yes, even for terrible people, because once you start chipping away … you’re running down a slippery slope. … I do believe that 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.”
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The vast majority of Americans — roughly 75% — do not support Sen. Bernie Sanders’ proposal to enfranchise all prisoners, but many are open to giving voting rights to non-violent inmates, according to a new INSIDER poll.
Only 15% of respondents said all prisoners — regardless of their crimes — should keep their voting rights while behind bars. Meanwhile, 20% said only voters convicted of non-violent offenses should be allowed to vote.
During a CNN town hall last Monday, the Vermont se ator was asked to clarify if he supports voting rights for people like the Boston Marathon bomber or people convicted of rape. Sanders replied that even “terrible people” should be allowed to vote, contending that disenfranchising any group of people is a “slippery slope.”
Based on our poll, approximately 35% of voters are supportive of enfranchising currently incarcerated people in some capacity, but most of these people aren’t willing to go as far as Sanders.
Beyond those that believe current prisoners should vote, roughly 30% said currently incarcerated people should lose their right to vote, but be re-enfranchised when they’re released. 24% of respondent said those convicted of violent felonies should permanently lose voting rights.
And approximately 10% of respondents said they “don’t know” how they feel about this issue.
The poll also found a stark divide in views on this issue along party lines: Nearly half of likely Democratic primary voters (47%) support enfranchising prisoners in some capacity compared to about 21% of likely Republican primary voters.
Along the 2020 campaign trail, Sanders has repeatedly said he supports voting rights for all prisoners.
Sanders’ idea has been attacked by Republicans including Sen. Lindsey Graham, Vice President Mike Pence, and President Donald Trump. The suggestions has also sparked a divisive conversation among 2020 Democrats.