New Bill Could Restore Voting Rights for Felons in Maryland
Maryland could join a number of other states to make it easier for ex-felons to get their voting rights back. A new bill within the state would return voting rights to most former felons after they are released from prison. The bill has already passed both houses and awaits the signature of Gov. Larry Hogan. According to a spokesperson from the governor’s office, Hogan is taking his time to review the legislation and has not yet made a decision.
Under the current system, ex-felons are required to complete parole and probation before they are able to vote again. If the governor decides to sign the bill into law, it could restore voting rights to approximately 40,000 people in the state.
There has been a great deal of speculation on what Hogan’s decision will be. Many within the state already see Hogan as a moderate. Just last month, he announced his support for a piece of legislation called the Maryland Second Chance Act, which would make it easier for convicted criminals of non-violent misdemeanors to cover their police and court records after three years, giving them a better chance at finding meaningful jobs.
Will the governor decide to expand the rights of people who have been convicted of crimes in the past? At this point, it is difficult to say, but it is clear that Maryland is on the cusp of joining a national movement to help re-enfranchise ex-felons. The fact that a bill has been proposed is a good sign for the future, even if it does not get signed into law this time around.
For more information on how this recent measure could affect you, or if you have questions about your constitutional rights, speak with an experienced La Plata criminal law attorney at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A.