NBC reporter Shaquille Brewster on Tuesday said a senior official on Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) presidential campaign told him the campaign would not be backing down from the position that all felons, including murderers and sex offenders, should be able to vote in prison.
Brewster appeared on MSNBC with host Ali Velshi, where he was asked to talk about what he was hearing from voters in Massachusetts about Sanders' support of felons voting. Sanders said he supported the voting rights of felons, including the Boston Marathon bomber, on Monday night during a CNN town hall.
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"Yes, I did get to speak to some voters, but I do want to say Bernie Sanders just wrapped up an event and he is not backing down from the issue at all," Brewster said. "I spoke a to senior campaign official who told me this is something the campaign plans to lean directly into. They see this as an opportunity to educate people on the Reconstruction era of restrictions on felons' ability to vote."
"This is something that this official told me that really is going to expand on with hard substantive policy as they go to South Carolina," Brewster continued.
During Monday's town hall, Sanders used the same talking points he used at the Fox News town hall last week, saying "cowardly Republican governors" are trying to suppress the vote. He used the New Hampshire governor and legislature as an example and claimed they are trying to suppress the vote of young people.
"To answer your question, as it happens in my own state of Vermont, from the very first days of our state's history, what our Constitution says is that everybody can vote," Sanders said. "If somebody commits a serious crime, sexual assault, murder, they're going to be punished. 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. Yes, even for terrible people."
He then tried to make the argument that if you prevent murderers and sex offenders from voting, then it could lead to a "slippery slope" argument, which he says could chip away at the voting rights of criminals with minors.
"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," Sanders said.