HATTIESBURG, Miss.—Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican candidate for governor this year, misled voters on Tuesday when he claimed that state Attorney General Jim Hood would allow "terrorists and rapists" to vote from prison if elected.
During this year's legislative session, some Mississippi Democrats, like House Minority Leader David Baria, pushed for a law to allow the restoration of voting rights for those who have served their time, but Republicans blocked those efforts. Hood, a Democratic candidate for governor, did tell a crowd in Hattiesburg last week that he supports restoring the right to people with felony convictions, but only after they have served their time.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, though, Reeves suggested Hood holds the same position as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is running for the Democratic party's nomination for president.
In a CNN town hall on Monday night, Sanders argued that voting rights are "inherent to our democracy" and ought to be extended even to "terrible people." Inmates, he said, should retain the right to vote while they are still in prison.
"This week, Bernie Sanders said that terrorists and rapists should be allowed to vote in our elections," Reeves wrote in a Tuesday afternoon Facebook post. "The left thinks the prisoners should be choosing our presidents. Jim Hood is with them. Last week, he admitted his support for letting felons vote."
Hood never endorsed the idea of allowing incarcerated people to vote, though, and the topic never even came up; he also declined to endorse Sanders' platform when an attendee asked.
Accusing Hood of being "soft on crime" strikes at one of his strengths with the state's more conservative voters. Criminal justice reform advocates have often criticized him for being too tough. In the mid-2000s, Hood successfully prosecuted Edgar Ray Killen for the murders of three civil rights workers