The question was stark: Would you support enfranchising incarcerated people like the Boston Marathon bomber or convicted rapists?
The answer Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont gave was starker: Yes.
“I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy,” Mr. Sanders said during a town hall-style event on CNN this past week. “Yes, even for terrible people.”
It was a response that seemed designed to appeal to criminal justice advocates, to say nothing of people of color, who are disproportionately incarcerated.
It also immediately touched off the latest policy debate of the Democratic primary: Among the candidates asked about the issue recently were Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Senator Kamala Harris of California and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., all of whom signaled, with varying levels of intensity, that they did not agree with Mr. Sanders.