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2020 Democrats confronting debate over letting felons vote




(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


Democratic presidential contenders are facing a new debate over whether criminals in prison, even notorious ones like the Boston Marathon bomber, should be able to win back their right to vote.


Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says they should and that voting is “inherent to our democracy — yes, even for terrible people.” Many of his rivals for the 2020 nomination aren’t so sure, and at least one opposes the idea outright. Sanders himself acknowledged that he was essentially writing an attack ad for Republicans to use against him through his support for the issue.


The question illustrates how Sanders continues to stand to the left of the other candidates as he endorses giving prisoners, including those convicted of heinous crimes, the right to vote. Prodded by criminal justice activists, Democrats have largely embraced the politically safer cause of winning back access to the ballot box for felons who have served their time.



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