Originally published on April 22, 2016 on The Baltimore Sun by Danyelle Solomon and Liz Kennedy.
In January, the General Assembly overrode Governor Larry Hogan's veto of legislation that automatically restores the right to vote to individuals released from prison. As a result, 40,000 formerly incarcerated Marylanders whose voices had been removed from our democracy now have access to the voting booth.
Voting is an essential part of American self-government. But our country has a long history of marginalizing groups of people who are deemed unfit to fully participate in American society: African Americans were systematically blocked from the electoral process until 1965; women remained unable to cast a ballot in many states until 1920. Today, millions of Americans are denied the right to vote because of criminal convictions.
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