Governor Larry Hogan has stamped a veto on SB340/HB980, which would expand expand voting rights to all returning citizens on their release from prison. The governor's May 22 veto is cynical and contrary to public opinion that favors this extension of voting rights.
Cynical in that this voting rights bill is still bound to become law, when the General Assembly overrides the veto next January!
Communities United is disappointed by Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of voting rights legislation (SB 340). People leaving the criminal justice system urgently need to be re-enfranchised and once again have a voice in their communities. Communities United and other advocates fought to change Maryland’s voting rights law because the current system is broken and does not strike a “proper balance.” It just keeps Marylanders from voting.
By vetoing this bill, the governor has effectively disenfranchised 40,000 Marylanders who want to participate in their communities. The Maryland General Assembly can’t override Hogan’s veto until they reconvene in January 2016, which undermines efforts to register voters and may suppress voting in the 2016 Baltimore City and federal elections as well in subsequent elections.
Gov. Hogan has learned nothing from the uprising in Baltimore and what the city and state residents need. Freddie Gray’s West Baltimore neighborhood has the highest rate of disenfranchisement in the state. Former felons need a voice and the ability to influence what happens in their communities and lives.
Voting is a human right and we will continue to push and fight for the re-enfranchisement of all citizens.