Listen: Vermont, Bernie Sanders, Texas discussed on Michael Berry
"Bernie Sanders recently said rather radical position putting the Democrats on the spot that folks who are in prison should be able to vote while they're in prison, even if they're on death row. Merrill, Matthews is a resident scholar at the institute for policy innovation. And he says bad idea, why is that Merrill, well, because it would affect allow people who have deprived people of their constitutional rights to Maine to maintain their, you know what happened was when Bernie Sanders asked that question he said, look, I it's a constitute it's one of our most valued constitutional rights, but right to vote. I agree with that. But when somebody commits murder, and John William king Bill king, who was executed in Texas on April twenty four th for the murder of James. Berg junior. That's the black man that he dragged behind his truck. Bill king have prohibited. He, he took away. Not only Joe James birds right to vote, but it right to life. And so, even yes, you do some freedoms when you go into jail, you lose a number of constitutional rights and freedoms, and I think the right to vote should be one, especially for convicted murderers, you note in your head to states, Maine, and Vermont, actually allow felons to retain the right to vote from jail. I was not aware of that indeed and Vermont has maintained it from the beginning. It's always had that, right? Bernie Sanders points that out and he says he says there's been no negative effects from Vermont, they elected him. Exactly right. Then voting for him. I would think that's one. But you know, Vermont is a second small state in the country. It has the lowest crime rate of the country, and it's not clear to me that we can draw lessons from Vermont, and apply that to large inner cities, especially with cities with heavy crime rates and, and high murder population. So I, I don't think that's a good example from from him. Are you suggesting that the nature of a prison inmate in Vermont is different than that, in that, that hails from Detroit, New York City, L A, or Houston? I think they could be Vermont is not New York City. It's not LA. It's not as San Francisco. So I it's not Houston. So, I think you, you want to be careful about drawing lessons from something that just not the same interesting. You know, twenty two in your op-ed. By the way, we've posted this up Ed to our. Website at Michael berry dot com. If you'd like to read the original twenty two states reinstate the right to vote only after felons have completed their parole or probation time. I want to talk about the other twelve in a moment. But talk about that group if you would write this goes from the national conference of state legislatures. That's the group that just sort of a trade association of state legislatures, and they track a lot of these things, they say fourteen states and the district of Columbia, allow felons to regain the right to vote soon as they walk out the door. Twenty two states. Wait force you to wait to finish probation, or Perot, Texas is included in that list. And in twelve states someone's have to petition the governor, I think, in some cases, it's pretty pro forma, but they have to take some other steps in order to be able to get the right to vote. What's been happening over the past few years? Is there's been a growing movement to say we need to re look at this, and this is from both conservatives and liberals, the Texas public policy foundation and. Austin has been one of the leaders on this. And so we're, we're the states are reexamining this, and asking if there may not be some cases, in which you want to sort of relax these, these restrictions, but that's where it stands right now. Of the fifty states you note, the data comes from the national conference of state legislatures fourteen states, and the N felons lose the right to vote while they're in prison, but then immediately can vote upon release. Okay. So that's fourteen of them. And then twenty two states say you lose the right to vote till you get out of prison and complete your parole or your probation time. And then another twelve say you have to do all that plus petition the governor for his pardon, which you say is kind of pro forma they're going to get it anyway. But it's just an extra little burden. I guess, to catch those fall through the cracks, right? Can be pro forma. I it varies with the state. And then, of course, there's the two states Maine in Vermont that have that allow convicted felons to vote Merrill, Matthews is resident scholar at the institute for policy innovation his his aditorial posted on our blog today. What is your? A position you say they shouldn't be able to vote while they're in prison. But what is your position, the day they walk out? I feel like I, I tend to go with the twenty two states that you should you have your time in prison you lease finish your time with parole or probation and then I'm generally comfortable with returning that, though. He doesn't there's a few states that actually have some restrictions. If you're if you're a convicted sex offender, I'm fine, if you don't want to let them vote if you with murder, I'm fine. He want to restrict that as well. Several other countries have have started moving towards allowing some people in prison with minor offenses. They may not have been the violence or something that retaining the right to vote. I think that's worthy of debate, but I'm not I'm not upset with where we are right now. But we, we've been talking before we had you on about the tenth amendment about the abortion Bill in Alabama about leaving states. You know, the character of Vermont, and Maine and Rhode Island's very different than Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas Arizona for that matter, California's different than Arizona. What's wrong with the system as it is now where we have three different four different sets of factors that state gets to choose who going to be there, Senator, and their governor why not leave it as it is. I'm perfectly comfortable with the leaving it with the state's constitutionally it is left with the states that states make these types of determinations, what Bernie Sanders most to do is try to force it from the federal level. But because we are a collection of state, and states do different things because both because of the culture and the voters that are there, I'm perfectly fine with a league leading the states make those decisions. So even though I would. Would not do what Vermont does they've done? And if that's what for monitoring wanna do. I'm glad let him do it. Well, and, and I think that's probably the best system. They're going to have different all sorts of different codes and regulations and positions in the state of Vermont. Then in California, then, we're going to have in Texas. And as far as I'm wondering if they want to let their criminals vote, while they're serving their time, so be it. But it shouldn't be a national policy Merrill Matthews institute for policy innovation. Thank you for being our guest. Thank you, Michael and his aditorial is posted on our blog at Michael berry dot com. His opening line, I think's worth noting on April twenty fourth Texas executed white supremacist, John William Bill king. He was a murderer, but he also would have been voter if democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had his way, and of course, king was one of the four guys who dragged James bird junior to his death. Th- behind a truck pretty explosive emotional response by the people of Texas to that case. So by using that case he's making the point, one of the worst of the worst. He also points out the Chechnyan bombers at the Boston marathon. Because Bernie Sanders made the point. I'd let that guy vote."