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02/10/2016 | Fighting for an Inclusive Democracy

Victory for Voting Rights in Maryland

Today in Maryland we won a hard-fought victory to restore the vote for ex-offenders reintegrating into their communities. 

This morning, the Maryland General Assembly successfully overrode Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s veto and restored the voting rights of over 40,000 Maryland citizens previously barred from voting because they are on probation or parole. The law will go into effect on March 10, 2016 and ex-offenders will be able to register and vote in Maryland’s local, state and federal primaries in April.

The Center for Popular Democracy and our partner, Maryland Communities United, organized a diverse coalition of grassroots organizations, reentry organizations, labor, good government groups, faith leaders and others to help pass the legislation last session. Then, when Governor Hogan vetoed the legislation, the coalition organized the support to override his veto.

It took grassroots mobilization, citizen lobbying, smart press and digital strategies, and the pressure of state and national partners to persuade the Maryland General Assembly to bring the override vote and to get the 29 votes in the Senate and 85 votes in the House to win an override.

While today is a huge victory for democracy, our work isn’t done. Now we go to work to engage, register and turn out the vote of our newly enfranchised sisters and brothers in Baltimore and around the state of Maryland.

This is just the beginning of the long fight to expand our democracy. With nearly 5.8 million Americans locked out of the democratic process because of a prior criminal conviction, CPD will be working with state partners across the country to follow Maryland’s lead and restore the right to vote in their communities.

Thank you for standing with us in our pursuit of a more popular democracy.