Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., reportedly believes some nonviolent offenders ought to be able to vote while imprisoned, but he has not given up the “larger fight” to reduce the overall prison population.
The Democratic presidential primary contender weighed in on prison reforms with the HuffPost during an interview on the campaign trail in Iowa.
“Do I think nonviolent drug offenders who are over-incarcerated should be able to vote in prison? Those folks, yes,” he told the HuffPost, but added:
“Where I begin all of this isn’t the fight to get people in prison their voting rights. It’s to get them out of prison. That’s my fight. We should have 50 percent reductions in incarceration, and that would still not be in line with the rest of the industrialized nations that do not incarcerate as many people.”
He urged Democrats to “start with the larger fight.”
“Why are they going to prison in the first place for nonviolent drug offenses?” Booker asked. “Literally, now, two of the last three presidents have admitted to felony drug use, but they get to be president and low-income people, drug-addicted people, people with mental illness, they have to go to prison and not just lose their voting rights, but lose their absolute liberty.”
Other Democratic presidential primary contenders who back the idea of allowing nonviolent offenders vote in prison are Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.