For Immediate Release
State Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto to Restore Voting Rights for 40,000 Marylanders
WASHINGTON - Today Maryland’s General Assembly cleared the way for 40,000 Maryland residents to regain their right to vote. After Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed legislation restoring voting rights to more than 40,000 Marylanders with prior felony convictions in 2015, the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate overrode the veto with definitive majorities. The law will now automatically reinstate the right to vote for individuals released after incarceration, allowing persons on probation and parole to vote. Advancement Project, a leading national civil rights and racial justice organization, released the following statement:
“We commend Maryland’s legislature for taking this important stride towards a more just democracy,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair. “No one should be deprived of their fundamental right to vote. This is a momentous day for the 40,000 Marylanders who are set to regain their voice in our political process, and for all who believe in the values of inclusive democracy. Laws that disenfranchise voters based on prior mistakes are known to have a disparate impact on voters of color. In Maryland, this was no different. As a result of today’s vote, a path has been set for people to fully rejoin their communities and stand alongside their neighbors at the voting booth.”
“We applaud the efforts of the courageous grassroots advocates across Maryland who fought for this legislation,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis. “There are endless benefits to restoring voting rights for people released from incarceration, including the fostering of full community integration and the fulfillment of our core democratic principles. Maryland’s actions to expand voting rights today mark a crucial step, but we must not forget the millions of Americans – disproportionately people of color – who remain unable to cast ballots because of prior mistakes. We celebrate today, and continue to press forward.”
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Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.