During a CNN Town Hall last night, Bernie was asked, “Does this mean you would support enfranchising people like the Boston Marathon bomber, a convicted terrorist and murderer. Do you think those convicted of sexual assault should have the opportunity to vote for politicians who could have a direct impact on women's rights?"
He first went after strawmen, saying that “cowardly Republican governors” were “trying to suppress the vote.”
Then he said “ as it happens in my own state of Vermont, from the very first days of our state's history, what our Constitution says is that everybody can vote.If somebody commits a serious crime, sexual assault, murder, they're going to be punished. 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. Yes, even for terrible people.... 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.”
He then tried to make the argument that if you prevent murderers and sex offenders from voting, then it could lead to a "slippery slope”, which he says could chip away at the voting rights of criminals with minors infractions.
CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo sought to clarify, asking him if he was “sure about that” since he effectively was “writing an opposition ad.”Bernie said “this is what I believe. Do you believe in democracy? Do you believe that every single American 18 years of age or older who is an American citizen has the right to vote?.This is a democracy. We’ve got to expand that democracy and I believe that every single person does have the right to vote.Once you start chipping away at that, believe me that's what our Republican governors all over this country are doing."