Rep. Ayanna Pressley Defends Voting Rights For Ex Cons
A conversation about restoring voting rights to ex-cons has been bubbling. There are some who think if a person has been convicted, sentenced and did their time, they should be able to vote. Others think voting is a privilege that should only be granted to citizens who don't have a record or non-violent offenders.
Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley took to Twitter recently to blast political pundits, members of the media and anyone she thinks is attempting to manipulate the conversation about restoring voting rights as a ploy to give terrorists, such as the Boston Marathon Bomber, a right in the nation's democracy.
"Don’t dare invoke one of the darkest days of terrorism in MY city to stoke fear and derail a meaningful conversation about fundamental rights and what justice looks like for the 1000s of black and brown folks who are stripped of their liberty and civic participation for minor offenses," Pressley tweeted.
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders was recently asked his thoughts on restoring voting rights to felons, and the senator from Vermont said picking away at who is more deserving of voting rights is a slippery slope.
“I think the right to vote is inherent in our democracy — yes, even for terrible people,” Sanders responded. “Because once you start chipping away, you say, ‘Well, that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote,’ or, ‘That person did that, not going to let that person vote.’ You’re running down a slippery slope. So I believe that people commit crimes, they pay the price. When they get out of jail, I believe they certainly should have the right to vote.”
Florida made history when it announced it would restore the voting rights to its former felons. However, the GOP-ruled house recently voted ex-cons must pay court fines and fees prior to being able to vote, which many prison reform advocates believe undermine the initiative.