Just in time for this year’s contentious presidential election season, Maryland legislators have restored voting rights to 40,000 felons, reports Mother Jones.
The move came Tuesday after a dramatic vote by the Democratic-controlled General Assembly to override Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to restore voting rights to felons on probation or parole, giving approximately 40,000 felons the right to vote, writes the news outlet.
Per Mother Jones:
The right of former felons to vote has become an increasingly partisan issue in recent years. Democrats have pushed to roll back restrictions on ex-felon voting rights, while Republicans in states such as Florida, Iowa, and Kentucky have recently made it harder for ex-felons to regain their voting rights. Felons are disproportionately likely to be minorities and Democratic voters. But not every Republican is opposed to rights restoration. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), for instance, has pushed for restoring rights after incarceration. In some states, such as the swing state of Florida, nearly 20 percent of voting-age African Americans cannot cast a ballot due to the state’s permanent ban on felon and ex-felon voting.
At issue in Maryland’s bill was whether to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their prison sentence but are still on parole or probation. The bill passed the legislature last year, but Hogan vetoed it. Last month, the state House voted to override the veto, leaving a squeaker of a vote in the state Senate.
We’re glad states like Maryland are working to reform the nation’s unfair inequitable criminal justice system. Felons, who have already paid their dues, should not have to endure disenfranchisement along with the stigma of serving time.
SOURCE: Mother Jones | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty