The Restoration of Voting Rights in Maryland
The restoration of voting rights movement is gaining a lot of momentum across the country. The ultimate goal of the movement is to end the practice of stripping people of their voting rights once they’ve been convicted of a felony offense. Voting is an inherent right that should never be taken away. Additionally, felony disenfranchisement laws have a racist legacy and impact communities of color at disproportionate rates. Read more about how harmful these laws are and the national movement to restore the vote in Common Cause’s latest report Zero Disenfranchisement: The Movement to Restore Voting Rights
Maryland is one of 14 states that allows people with felony convictions to vote once they have been released from incarceration. This means that even if someone is on parole or probation, or they have completed their sentence, they are eligible to vote in the state of Maryland. This change in law took effect in 2016 after Governor Hogan’s veto was overridden by the legislature. Previously, in 2007, the legislature passed a law that ended lifetime disenfranchisement in Maryland, restoring the right to vote to over 50,000 Maryland citizens who had completed their full sentence. Maryland is certainly a trailblazer state when it comes to the Restoration of Voting Rights Movement. However, there is still more work to do.
Felony Disenfranchisement has been a part of Maryland’s Constitution since 1851. Even with the historic legislation that has been passed 21,295 people in Maryland are still disenfranchised because of their felony convictions. 15, 383 of that population are Black Americans. The fight to restore voting rights is not over until all people have their voting rights restored.
Take Action: Support efforts to restore the vote in Maryland!