Recently, a few Democratic presidential candidates appeared on TV to comment on their policies. When it was Bernie Sanders’ turn, Chris Cuomo asked if it was true that he felt jail and prison inmates should be allowed to vote. Bernie said he felt that inmates forfeited their freedom but not their rights.

Chris asked if his belief included the Boston marathon bomber. Bernie said that inmates had rights as citizens. The Boston Marathon bomber was originally a Chechen and, to be honest, I was not aware that he was a U.S. citizen. Before the marathon, John McCain had faulted Putin for being harsh with Chechens but Russia has been dealing with terrorists constantly and Chechens have been brutal. After the marathon, I heard no sympathy for Chechens.

The next two candidates on TV were asked if the Boston bomber should be allowed to vote. Kamala Harris said we would have to talk about it. Buttegeig said absolutely not.

We recently had an amendment in Florida to allow felons who had completed their time and paid their debt to society to vote.

Certain felons, such as murderers, were excepted from the amendment. Terrorists weren’t mentioned but I assume they would be excepted. I don’t know if allowing inmates to vote would get through Congress and I can’t see our private prisons complying with it. I recall that we had voting rights in the Army, but since there was very little access to political news in the ’40s and ’50s, many didn’t vote.

I am sure that Bernie didn’t have terrorists in mind when he thought about inmates rights. He thought about the thousands of people serving for years on drug charges and similar things. I recently saw a gut-wrenching report on an over crowded facility. People who weren’t even sentenced were locked up because they couldn’t afford bail. it seemed like a throwback to the old debtors prisons.

Bernie thought about people like those suffering. One person was in that facility for allegedly stealing a backpack. TV personalities referring to inmates rights as terrorists voting seem to be deliberately making Bernie look foolish and it has no connection to reality.

Mary B. Gregory


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(3) comments


Anything that takes away your right to own a gun should also take away your right to vote. If you aren't capable of being trusted with a weapon, then why should they be trusted to help determine the fate of the nation? Anything that restores your rights to vote should restore ALL your rights; unlike in Animal Farm, some rights should not be 'more equal than others'.

CitrusCo Citizen

Mary, as I reread your letter I realized that you are trying to analyze and synthesize the situation and "set the record straight". But it's more complicated than that! We don't know the whole Chechen story. The felon's voting rights was passed in Florida, but now the legislators are putting up obstacles and roadblocks to prevent felons from actually gaining those rights. Yes, many people are incarcerated wrongfully, and should be able to vote and yes, there are criminal terrorists among them who should NOT be allowed to vote. Bernie's an extremist, yes, but isn't that refreshing and interesting--no one else has the courage that he has to address the issues. Whether we agree with him or not, Bernie Sanders forces us to think more deeply and critically about important issues and then hopefully to make our own, informed decisions about voting.

CitrusCo Citizen

Don't worry, it's pretty hard to make Bernie look foolish. He's pretty clear and straightforward on his agenda and he's not deceitful, evasive, or bombastic like some politicians we know of. However, he, like Biden, Trump and a few other prominent contenders are all so very old!! We need a combination of Bernie Sanders's brutal honesty along with Biden's strong leadership along with Trump's charisma all bundled up in a younger woman or man of any color , ethnicity, religion (or not), etc. 74 year old candidates means they have to last through one of the most stressful jobs there is and they'll be 78 by the time the job ends and that's pretty darn old! We shouldn't have to worry about dealing with age-related illnesses in a new president. in 2020. At 78, Reagan was starting to lose his hearing and his memory the last year of his presidency!

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