WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), author of the Democracy Restoration Act, issued the following in reaction to the Maryland State Senate’s override of Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of MD. HB980.
“There isn’t a single lawmaker at the federal or state level who hasn’t received a second chance at one point or another. I applaud the Maryland General Assembly for overriding the Governor’s veto and thereby allowing returning citizens to rejoin our democracy and their local communities. Research shows that allowing returning citizens to vote reduces recidivism and hence saves money that would be spent on housing repeat offenders. Breaking the cycle of mass incarceration and giving individuals a second chance to participate fully in their community should be a bipartisan goal. We’re building on the Second Chance Act that began in the George W. Bush Administration and current efforts in the U.S Senate.
“The United States is one of the few Western democracies that allows the permanent denial of voting rights for individuals with felony convictions. I am proud that my home state of Maryland has taken a bold step to correct this injustice. I commend the Maryland General Assembly and urge my colleagues in the U.S. Senate to move forward on such changes on a federal level.”