Moulton disagrees with Sanders proposal to let inmates vote

Moulton disagrees with Sanders proposal to let inmates vote
© Greg Nash

Rep. Seth MoultonSeth Wilbur Moulton2020 Democrats call Trump's tweets about female Democrats racist Biden proposes tax increases for wealthy as part of health care plan 2020 Democrats push tax hike on wealthy investors MORE (D-Mass.) on Tuesday became the second Democratic presidential candidate to come out against Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to call on 2020 Democrats to reject money from drug, health insurance industries The hidden connection between immigration and health care: Our long-term care crisis Harris tops Biden in California 2020 poll MORE's (I-Vt.) call to extend voting rights to Americans incarcerated for felony convictions.

At a press gaggle in Massachusetts, the lawmaker said felons should have their voting rights restored upon being released from prison but declined to endorse the extension of voting rights to those currently behind bars.

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"No, I don't think that if you're in prison, that's not a provision that we have," Moulton said.

"My position would be that people in prison don't vote, but when you get out, then absolutely you should have those rights restored," he continued. "And we do have a problem in the United States with people who come out of prison and don't get their full rights."

During a town hall event in Iowa earlier this month, Sanders called for more states to join Vermont and extend voting rights to currently incarcerated Americans. 

"In my state, what we do is separate. You’re paying a price. You committed a crime. You’re in jail. That's bad," he said earlier in April. "But you’re still living in American society, and you have a right to vote."

He echoed those during a CNN town hall on Monday night when asked if his policy would extend to felons convicted of terrorism-related offenses, such as the Boston Marathon bomber.

"If somebody commits a serious crime, sexual assault, murder, they’re going to be punished," Sanders said Monday. "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," he continued. "Yes, even for terrible people, because once you start chipping away ... you’re running down a slippery slope. ... 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."

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegHarris tops Biden in California 2020 poll The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump digs in ahead of House vote to condemn tweet MORE (D), another 2020 candidate, has also come out against the policy while adding that the right should be restored upon release.

"No, I don’t think so," he said when asked if he agreed with Sanders's stance on the issue.

"Reenfranchisement upon release is important, but part of the punishment … is you lose certain rights," Buttigieg added. "You lose your freedom, and I don’t think during that time it makes sense to have that exception."