Bernie Sanders and seven other Democrats running for President were in Houston yesterday for a ‘She the People’ forum at Texas Southern University. Sanders, one of the frontrunners in the 2020 Democratic field, also was in town for a rally.
At that rally, Sanders, who had earlier said he believes convicted criminal and felons should have the right to vote, doubled down on that when he spoke to supporters.
“I was criticized rather strongly because I said that when we talk about the right to vote that right should exist for people who are currently in jail,” Sanders said to applause from the people attending the event.
“And I was told this was a terrible idea despite the fact that in Canada and in countries all over the world — why did I say that?” Sanders said. “I said that because the right to vote is essential. If you are a citizen, you have the right to vote.”
Sanders compared the right to vote for convicted felons to voting rights for women and African Americans.
“And that is a right we must protect because we know the history of this country. We know that women didn’t have the right to vote,” Sanders said. “We know that African Americans didn’t have the rights to vote.”
“So my view is it’s not a matter if you are a good person or a bad person,” Sanders said. “You commit a crime, pay the price, go to jail.”
“But being an American citizen and having the right to vote is something we should never, ever give up on,” Sanders said.