With the national conversation turning to voting rights for incarcerated felons, even terrorists, and presidential candidates such as Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsing the idea, Saikat Chakrabarti, chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, asked why there was opposition to the idea.
"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?" Chakrabarti asked on Wednesday.
He went to say how important the right to vote is and how it is not a privilege, using the Second Amendment as an example:
The Constitution names the right to vote five times. It talks about not infringing on the right, just like the right to bear arms: "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) April 24, 2019
Chakrabarti's question and defense was met with a mix of mockery, criticism, and support:
Restore Dylan Roof’s voting rights immediately. It must be done.— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) April 24, 2019
Who knew the law against putting a bomb by an 8 year-old and blowing people up was unjust? https://t.co/NiRHJqKA69— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) April 24, 2019
This is getting a lot of snark, but to engage in the actual question: inherent in incarceration is a denial of rights, forced isolation from civil society, and retributive justice. Denying voting privileges fits neatly in any of those frameworks. https://t.co/Bj04Id7l7p— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) April 24, 2019
Whatever mate. As I already said, yes he can vote too. All citizens means all citizens.— Death by prefatory comment🌹 (@saddamshaikh1) April 24, 2019
He is saying that the Boston bomber shouldn’t be the reason that thousands of other unjustly incarcerated people don’t get to vote. They (and you) are just using him as a red herring to keep the unjustly incarcerated’s votes suppressed.— Jordan Boggs (@JordanBoggs) April 24, 2019
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said during her CNN town hall there should be a discussion on the idea.
"I'm going to think about it, and I'm going to talk to experts, and I'm gonna make a decision and I'll let you know. I will tell you this: One, it's a complex issue, I'm fully aware of that. Two, we right now have got a lot of work to do with the people in our country who have served their time and have been prohibited from voting," Harris later explained on the issue, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
[Related: Pete Buttigieg breaks with Bernie Sanders on allowing felons to vote from prison]