Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris Confronted With Questions on Felony Voting After Bernie Backs Idea at CNN Town Hall


Independent Vermont Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders argued at his CNN town hall Monday night that voting rights are fundamental — “even for terrible people” like the Boston Marathon bomber and those convicted of sexual assault.

“This is a democracy, we’ve got to expand that democracy, and I believe every single person does have the right to vote,” Sanders said, making the case that even felons currently serving in prison should vote.

Sen. Kamala Harris, a fellow 2020 candidate, was asked about Sanders’ view in her own town hall.

The California Democrat first said she supports restoring voting rights to people after they’ve served their time in prison.

“These are policies that go back to Jim Crow,” Harris said.

When pressed by CNN’s Don Lemon on whether she backed voting rights for those currently incarcerated, like the Boston Marathon bomber and those convicted of sexual assault, she replied, “I think we should have that conversation.”

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was also confronted with the issue in his town hall, which was CNN’s last of the evening. When asked if he thinks those currently incarcerated should be allowed to vote, he said: “No, I don’t think so.”

“Part of the punishment when you’re convicted of a crime and incarcerated, is you lose certain rights, you lose your freedom. And I think during that time it does not make sense to make an exception for the right to vote.”

Buttigieg added he thinks those released from prison should be re-enfranchised.

Watch those moments above, via CNN.

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Aidan McLaughlin is the Editor of Mediaite. Send tips via email: Ask for Signal. Follow him on Twitter: @aidnmclaughlin