Sen. Sanders Joins VA House Democrats Calling for Prisoners to Vote

gshipley2019 General Assembly, Federalism, Press Releases, Public Safety

Vermont Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders made news this week when he suggested that convicted felons still incarcerated should be allowed to vote — even those convicted of murder or terrorism.

“Yes, even for terrible people, because once you start chipping away and you say, ‘Well, that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote. Well, that person did that. Not going to let that person vote,’ you’re running down a slippery slope,” Sanders said, speaking during a CNN town hall this week.

For Bernie, even the Boston Marathon bomber deserves a vote from behind bars.

Sanders may be on the cutting edge of far-left ideas, but he’s several months behind 13 members of the Virginia House Democrat Caucus. Those Democrats sponsored a proposed Constitutional Amendment in January that would have allowed felons — regardless of crime, regardless of whether or not they completed their sentence — to vote.

House Joint Resolution 598 would remove the prohibition on felon voting from the Constitution, and replace it with universal voting rights for felons — and prevent the General Assembly from ever blocking prisoners from voting again.

“There’s a legitimate debate to be had about how rights should be restored to felons who have served their time,” said House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert. “But extending the right to vote to those who are still paying their debt to society is an insult to victims and law-abiding citizens.”

“Far too many communities in Virginia can point to horrific crimes that left victims in their wake where the perpetrators are still serving their sentence or even waiting on death row. Just like Bernie Sanders, a bunch of elected House Democrats would allow them to vote from their prison cells,” continued Gilbert.

One of this bill’s patrons, Del. Alfonso Lopez, told people at a fundraiser earlier this month that, should Democrats win the majority, “the work of a lifetime is the work of two afternoons.”

“Far-left ideas like HJ 598 are exactly why Virginians will reject Democrats in November and retain a Republican House Majority,” Gilbert concluded.