HOUSTON (FOX 26) - For a long time, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has fought to restore voting rights for felons who've completed their prison sentences. Now, he wants prisoners currently behind bars to be able to vote also.
Sanders is a senator from Vermont. Vermont and Maine are the only states to allow felons currently serving their sentences to vote. Opponents of allowing felons to vote argue that if you're not willing to follow the law, then you should not have a role in making law for everyone.
"You're paying a price, you committed a crime, you're in jail," says Sanders. "That's bad. But, you're still living in American society, and you have a right to vote."
"An incarcerated felon needs to be able to show society that they can be reintegrated by serving their full prison sentence," says Conservative political activist Jacob Way. "I think voting while in prison may be a little too much."
Darrell Jacobs has a unique perspective in that he is also a "returning citizen".
"I don't like to use the term "ex-offender" because that keeps people believing that you are still in a criminal element," said Jacobs. "I try to help other people be successful and be able to flourish once they return."
Implementing a system that would allow people in prisons to vote would have its own set of challenges, as Way brought up.
From finding the money necessary to set up the voting stations, figuring out which county an inmate would vote in, and training guards to operate the voting process, there are many aspects to consider.
"If you were to allow inmates to absentee vote, there would be no additional cost, except for staff or maybe a ballot box," countered Jacobs.
However, some believe that depriving inmates from voting should remain as part of their punishment.
"The sting of not having your American rights, like being able to carry a firearm, or being able to vote, is something that deters a lot of people from committing a felony," said Way.