In what is considered a blow to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s office, the Maryland General Assembly voted today to override the governor’s veto and restore the right to vote to felons upon their release.
Under current state law, felons must complete their parole, probation and other post-release programs before being allowed to register to vote.
According to the Baltimore Sun:
The Maryland Senate narrowly overrode Gov. Larry Hogan‘s final veto from last year’s General Assembly session, paving the way to reinstate voting rights to felons before they complete probation or parole.
The 29-18 vote on Tuesday puts the law on the books 30 days from now and represents a political defeat for Hogan, a Republican. The bill was the sixth that Hogan vetoed last year, and the sixth the Democrat-controlled General Assembly reinstated.
The vote, twice delayed in order to muster enough support, followed an expansive debate that touched on resolving racial disparities in the criminal justice system and protecting victims of violent crime.
Proponents argued voting would help felons rejoin society. The current system requires felons to complete probation and parole before registering to vote. Supporters of the law said that process was confusing and demoralizing to people trying to rebuild their lives.
“It’s unfair,” said Sen. Joanne C. Benson, a Democrat from Prince George’s County who said she got out of her sick bed in order to override the veto. She noted that the vast majority of people affected by the law are, like her, African-American. “The whole system is unfair,” she said.
Baltimore’s Sen. Joan Carter Conway sponsored the bill and argued it was “the right thing to do.”
The bill largely passed along party lines
First, deceased residents, now criminals that haven’t completed their parole. Anything to garner votes for the Democrats, even if it means delaying the process to get your way. Let’s not forget the heaping pile of emotion to distract from what is blatant fraud – “Proponents argued voting would help felons rejoin society.” Insert sobbing here.
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h/t – photo (Erin Cox / The Baltimore Sun), Baltimore Sun