Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) said on Monday that all prisoners – including domestic terrorists such as the Boston Marathon Bomber, should have the right to vote while in prison.
Speaking at a CNN town hall, Sanders was asked by an audience member if he thinks the right to vote should extend to serious criminals – including 2013 Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who said he and his brother Tamerlan were motivated by Islamic extremism when they built and deployed pressure-cooker backpack bombs based on designs from an al-Qaeda affiliated online magazine, killing three people and injuring several hundred others – including 16 who lost limbs.
“If somebody commits a serious crime, sexual assault, murder, they’re going to be punished,” replied Sanders. “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,” Sanders 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.”