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The state of Maryland might restore the voting rights of over 40,000 former offenders with felony convictions if a piece of vetoed legislation is successfully overridden.

Gov. Larry Hogan shot down the legislation last year, but a strong push from Democrat leadership is aimed to turn the tides.

The Huffington Post writes:

Over 40,000 people with past felony convictions who are on probation or parole will have their voting rights restored if a veto override attempt is successful in Maryland legislature next week.

In Maryland, someone with a past felony conviction is barred from voting until he or she finishes their probation or parole. Legislation sent to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk last spring would have changed that, by allowing people to vote once they’ve left prison. Hogan, who is immensely popular in the state, vetoed the legislation, setting up a fight with Democrats, who control both legislative chambers.

On Wednesday, the Democrats’ leadership signaled that they would vote to override Hogan’s veto next Tuesday or Wednesday. If the veto override succeeds, Maryland will join the 13 states, plus the District of Columbia, that allow all people with felony convictions who have left prison to vote in elections. Three states — Kentucky, Iowa and Florida — permanently revoke voting rights for all people convicted of a felony, while two states — Maine and Vermont — never strip felons of their voting rights, so Maryland would remain in the middle of the felon disenfranchisement continuum.

Gov. Hogan said last spring that he went with the veto because he felt felons should finish out their sentences ahead of gaining voting rights. He added in a letter his veto helps to “achieves the proper balance between repayment of obligations to society for a felony conviction and the restoration of the various restricted rights.”

Naturally, this has attracted the ire of voting rights advocates who have long championed that felons and ex-offenders have their democratic rights restored.

SOURCE: Huffington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty


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