The chief of staff for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., wants to know why we shouldn’t let prisoners vote behind bars.
In a tweet sent out Wednesday morning, Saikat Chakrabarti asked: “What’s the reason NOT to let incarcerated people vote? Shouldn’t the people most affected by unjust laws have some say in electing people to change them?”
What's the reason NOT to let incarcerated people vote? Shouldn't the people most affected by unjust laws have some say in electing people to change them?
— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) April 24, 2019
And just in case, here’s the screenshot:
And here's the screenshot for insurance: pic.twitter.com/6LovpZyvKR
— Nate Madden (@NateOnTheHill) April 24, 2019
Here’s the background:
The question of letting convicted felons vote while still paying back their debts to society has become a major issue on the Democratic campaign trail in recent days, following remarks from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in support of the idea.
Sanders even said that he supported restoring voting rights for the Boston Marathon bomber for the sake of creating a “vibrant democracy.”
That all being said, it ought to be clear that Chakrabarti’s question is misleading. We’re not having a public discussion about incarcerated people. We’re not just talking about people doing short time for misdemeanor offenses. We’re talking about convicted felons. All of them. This isn’t just the media-friendly poster children for sentencing reform and rehabilitation initiatives.
Believe it or not, not every felon serving hard time was convicted under an unjust law. Right now, America is having a discussion about whether convicted serial killers, child molesters, rapists, terrorists, and organized crime kingpins should be able to have a say in elections while they’re still behind bars for their crimes.
How a politician or a staffer wants to answer that question is completely their decision; however, they really shouldn’t expect to see strong numbers on the “shares my values” question in their next round of public polling if they do.