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.This article was originally published in The Baltimore Sun.