Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has waded into the debate over whether imprisoned convicts should have the right to vote. The Democratic Socialist endorsed the idea, ignoring the inconvenient fact convicts haven’t repaid their debt to society. (

Ocasio-Cortez, the freshman Democrat from New York who has emerged as a de facto spokesperson for the party’s progressive wing, weighed in after Sen. Bernie Sanders came under criticism for proposing that people in prison for any reason should be allowed to cast a ballot.


When asked during a CNN town hall Monday night if incarcerated felons like the Boston Marathon bomber or those convicted of sexual assault should be eligible to vote while serving their sentences, Sanders firmly replied, “the right to vote is inherent to our democracy, yes, even for terrible people.”

“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,” he said. “So people in jail can vote.”

Sanders continued: “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.”

If Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez get their way, 183,000 convicted murderers in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisoners will have the right to vote.

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