Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Ca.) spoke on CNN’s Town Hall Monday night and discussed their desire to change the laws so criminals — in prison — can vote.
“Senator Sanders you have said that you believe that people with felony records should be allowed to vote while in prison,” Anne Carlstein, a Harvard student said. “Does this mean that you would support enfranchising people like the Boston Marathon Bomber? A convicted terrorist and murderer.”
“Yes, even for terrible people,” Sanders responded.
The Vermont senator told the student that chipping away at the voting process because someone committed a crime would only put the country on a “slippery slope.”
“So I believe that people commit crimes, they pay the price,” Sanders continued. “When they get out of jail I believe they certainly should have the right to vote.”
“But 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.”
Doubling down on his answer, Sanders made sure everyone knew he meant what he said.
“You know this is what I believe,” Sanders stated. “This is a democracy, we’ve got to expand that democracy and I believe every single person does have the right to vote.”
How did Sen. Kamala Harris respond to the same question?
“I agree that the right to vote is one of the very important components of citizenship,” Harris said. “It is something that people should not be stripped of needlessly.”
CNN's Host Don Lemon had to make sure he heard the California senator correctly.
“But people who are convicted, in prison, like the Boston Marathon Bomber, on death row, people who are convicted of sexual assault. They should be able to vote?” Lemon asked.
“I think we should have that conversation,” Harris responded.