Supermax ADX Florence

Guard towers loom over the administrative maximum security federal prison called Supermax near Florence in this 2007 file photo. Supermax prison, also known as ADX for "administrative maximum," is a facility so secure, so remote and so austere that it has been called the "Alcatraz of the Rockies." (Chris McLean/The Pueblo Chieftain via AP)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner lit up Twitter after presidential candidate Bernie Sanders suggested that incarcerated felons should be allowed to vote.

Gardner unleashed a stream of tweets Wednesday in response, listing various notorious inmates at Colorado's famous super-maximum-security federal prison.

"The Supermax prison in Florence, CO is called the 'Alcatraz of the Rockies' because it houses the worst criminals and terrorists in the country," the Colorado Republican tweeted. "Apparently some Democrats want to make it the next battleground precinct by giving these inmates the right to vote."

Then a series of photos of well-known criminals housed at the United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility, also known as ADX Florence, were posted on Gardner's official Twitter account.

They included "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, 2013 Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and 1995 Oklahoma City bombing accomplice Terry Nichols.

Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, defended the prisoner-voting idea during his town hall with CNN on Monday.

"If somebody commits a serious crime, sexual assault, murder, they're going to be punished," Sanders said. "They may be in jail for 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, their whole lives. That's what happens when you commit a serious crime. But I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people.

"Because once you start chipping away and you say, 'Well that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote,' or 'That person did that, not going to let that person vote,' you're running down a slippery slope," he said.

Gardner faces what is expected to be a tough re-election challenge next year in a state that voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and went overwhelmingly Democratic in the 2018 midterm election.

In Colorado, "it is illegal to register to vote or cast a vote while serving a sentence of incarceration or detention for a felony conviction," according to Secretary of State Jena Griswold's office. Felons do have the right to vote in Colorado after serving their sentences and any parole, regardless of whether they served time under a state or federal conviction.

Colorado Politics contributed.

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