Bernie Sanders plans Midwest tour, including Warren rally this weekend

Randy Kelley
April 10, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), current 2020 Democratic candidate, visited Iowa on Saturday and surprised his audience with a new idea: Allow convicted felons to vote while they're still behind bars.

Democratic 2020 hopeful Beto O'Rourke launched a stinging attack on Donald Trump yesterday in which he compared the President's administration to Nazi Germany. Elizabeth Warren recently saying she backs the restoration of voting rights to those who have completed their prison terms.

The issue came up during a town hall in Muscatine, Iowa on Saturday when Sanders was asked whether or not inmates should have the right to vote from behind bars.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said Thursday that President Trump uses "rhetoric you might have heard" during Nazi Germany's "Third Reich", listing the president's choices on immigration, family separation and travel bans as comparative to Hitler. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia suspend voting rights for those imprisoned, while automatically restoring the franchise upon their release.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only two states - ME and Sanders' Vermont - now allow felons to vote in elections while behind bars.

Thirteen states and Washington, D.C. now specifically prohibit felons from voting only while incarcerated.

Sanders also voted for the "Gang of Eight" immigration bill in 2013 that would have given amnesty to all of the people in the United States illegally. "That's bad", Sanders said, responding to a town hall question about whether prisoners should have a right to vote.

"The problem, though, that I believe, is whether you're in the majority or the minority, I think you have to protect minority rights. You're paying a price, you committed a crime, you're in jail", said Sanders, according to the Des Moines Register. Iowa is one of only two states that allows felons to vote if a sitting governor gives them permission.

"I know who they are and I know the role that they are playing".

The Texan, who narrowly lost the state's tight Senate race, hit out at the President's labeling of migrants as "animals and an infestation".

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