More states should allow people with felony records to vote while they are in prison, presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders said over the weekend, the Des Moines Register reported.
“I think that is absolutely the direction we should go,” Sanders said during a town hall in Muscatine, Iowa, when he was asked if there should be a right to vote from prison. “You’re paying a price, you committed a crime, you’re in jail. That’s bad. But you’re still living in American society and you have a right to vote.”
Currently, only Sanders’ home state of Vermont and Maine allow felons to vote behind bars.
Most states do not allow people to vote while they are in prison, on parole, or on probation, according to Vox.
Two states ban those with felony convictions from voting even after they have finished their prison, parole or probation sentences.
Data from 2016 shows that 6.1 million people were prevented from voting due to a felony conviction, according to The Sentencing Project.
Black Americans are disproportionately impacted, since there are a higher percentage of blacks in prison. Punishments can follow people for the remainder of their lives, making it much more difficult for those with criminal records to regain rights that would give them a better chance to secure a job.
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