Sunday, October 20, 2019

Overriding Veto, Maryland Expands Voting Rights to Released Felons

The Maryland legislature, overriding a veto from Republican Governor Larry Hogan, has voted to restore voting rights to convicted felons upon their release from prison. Under prior law, voting rights would only be restored after parole and probation were completed.

I'm a bit of a fundamentalist on this issue -- I'm dubious that it's justifiable to remove the vote even from prisoners -- so I obviously support this move in Maryland. Our system of criminal justice needs to and should focus far more than it does now on how to reintegrate convicted criminals into society. Voting -- and participating in civic institutions more broadly -- is a powerful lever to do that.

This is the sixth veto Governor Hogan has laid down against bills passed in the Maryland legislature last session, and the sixth to be overriden. While it remains deeply embarrassing that Maryland has a Republican Governor in the first place, at least the legislature is doing what it can to ensure he remains an irrelevant speed bump.

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