Baltimore City Council urges override of Hogan's veto of sooner voting rights for ex-offenders

The Baltimore City Council wants the Maryland General Assembly to override a Hogan veto.

The Baltimore City Council on Monday urged the Maryland General Assembly to override Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of a bill that would have given voting rights to ex-offenders while on probation or supervised release.

"There is a movement to override this veto," said City Councilman Brandon Scott, who sponsored a resolution calling for an override that was adopted by the council. "These people are taxpayers. With everything that happened in our city, we should realize that we should invite people back into society."

In May, Hogan, a Republican, vetoed a bill sponsored by Baltimore Del. Cory McCray, a Democrat, that would allow felons to vote as soon as they leave prison rather than waiting to finish parole or probation.

In a letter to legislative leaders, Hogan said current law that makes felons wait to vote until completing all aspects of their sentence "achieves the proper balance between repayment of obligations to society for a felony conviction and the restoration of the various restricted rights."

Maryland is one of 39 states that allows ex-convicts to vote after they have completed their sentences — including completion of probation or parole. There are about 40,000 former felons in Maryland who are out of prison but unable to vote because they are still on parole or probation.

The bill was approved during the assembly session largely along party lines. For months, activists have been urging the legislature, which is dominated by Democrats, to override the veto.

The new General Assembly session begins Wednesday.

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