Sanders says he’s open to letting convicts vote from prison

Former U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke at the National Action Network convention in New York City

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Democratic presidential contender and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke enters the room during a campaign event in Sioux City, Iowa, on Thursday.

Several states disenfranchise citizens convicted of felonies-though some states, such as Florida, have been pressured to change their laws to allow people who have served their sentences to vote.

The Des Moines Register reported that only in Bernie Sanders' home state of Vermont and in ME are convicted felons allowed to vote from behind bars. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia suspend voting rights for those imprisoned, while automatically restoring the franchise upon their release.

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- Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont signaled openness over the weekend for the nation at large to follow his home state's example and allow people to vote from prison.

Sanders noted that good legislative practice means maintaining the rights of the minority party in the chamber so that both major parties can have a say in what's happening on the floor. In 22 states, felons lose the right to vote while incarcerated as well as for some period thereafter, such as while on parole. "You're paying a price, you committed a crime, you're in jail", said Sanders, according to the Des Moines Register. "I believe in that, yes, I do". Iowa is one of only two states that allows felons to vote if a sitting governor gives them permission. "It's encouraging to have a strong coalition of supporters backing our proposed constitutional amendment". U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics data from 2013 showed America has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

While many have vouched for the former approach, Sanders' comments contrasted with those of President Donald Trump, who railed against an attempt in 2016 for Virginia to expand voting rights to some convicted felons who had completed their sentences.

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