Baltimore, MD â€“ The Maryland legislature has overwhelmingly approved a bill to restore voting rights to nearly 40,000 people with past criminal convictions. The measure â€” which would simplify Marylandâ€™s law so that a person becomes eligible to vote upon release from prison â€” has already passed the stateâ€™s House and Senate and now awaits Gov. Larry Hoganâ€™s signature.
From Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President & CEO:
â€œThe NAACP applauds the Maryland legislature for approving a bill to restore the right to vote to nearly 40,000 people who have paid their debt to society. Throughout the country 5.8 million American citizens are prevented from participating in the voting process; including 4.3 million who continue to be silenced after completing their sentence and returning to their community. Nationally, 1 out of every 13 voting-eligible African-Americans has been stripped of their voting rights. This bill will help thousands of people who currently live, work, and raise families in Maryland every year. We firmly believe in second chances and that citizens who have completed their sentences be allowed to exercise the constitutional right to vote.â€
From Gerald Stansbury, NAACP Maryland State Conference President:
â€œThe SB340 bill will strengthen our communities throughout Maryland. The majority of citizens regaining their voting rights under this legislation are African American so this legislation strengthens participatory democracy in our state. We know also that returning citizens who vote are less likely to be arrested again and more likely to be productive, engaged and law-abiding. This measure is a win for civil rights and public safety. We applaud the General Assembly for its passage of the bill and urge the governor to sign it.”