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Politics

Baltimore Mayor Scott, youth advocates urge voter registration as response to Roe decision

Mayor Brandon Scott, flanked Monday by advocates for getting young voters to the polls, implored Baltimoreans to exercise their constitutional right in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and others joined him on the eve of Tuesday’s statewide voter registration deadline.

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“Our basic values and decency are under attack in this country” said Scott, a Democrat. “And those who want to turn back the clock to a time when segregation was legal and women didn’t have the right to choose what to do with their bodies — their own bodies — are counting on those of us who believe in fairness, equity and just plain humanity for all to stay at home and not vote. Don’t give them what they want.

“I am asking you — really, I am begging you — to not make that mistake again,” Scott said.

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Scott made his plea at City Hall flanked by Democrat Cardin, Natasha Murphy of Black Girls Vote Inc., and Aeirss Prince, founder of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Baltimore Youth Voter Registration Committee.

In three weeks, Maryland will choose among nine Democratic candidates and four Republicans to face off in November for the right to be sworn in as Maryland’s next governor. Republican Larry Hogan’s second and final term expires in early January.

Early voting in Maryland begins July 7 and ends on July 14. Voters can request mail-in ballots for the primary election from the State Board of Elections until July 12, and submit them by mail or voting drop box by July 19.

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The mayor’s call came days after two consequential Supreme Court decisions — one with major implications for Maryland’s concealed carry gun law, and the other overturning Roe, a landmark 1973 decision that held women have a fundamental right to choose whether to have an abortion.

The opinion unveiled Friday on behalf of a court led by conservative justices said individual states now can decide whether and how to restrict abortions. In Maryland, the right to abortion has been settled law since 1992, when the General Assembly codified the protections then guaranteed under Roe.

Two State House Speakers, the late Michael E. Busch and current presiding Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, have attempted to enshrine the right in Maryland’s constitution through ballot referendums. Neither bill has made it past the state Senate.

Advocate Murphy said Monday that the high court’s decision “highlights the fact that elections, at every level, have consequences.”

“It really reveals the critical importance of ensuring that the electorate is electing individuals that represent the will and the voice of the people,” said Murphy, who noted polls show a majority of people support abortion to some degree.

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A poll of likely Maryland voters conducted May 27-June 2 by The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore found that an overwhelming majority of Democrats and 62% of Republicans were in favor of abortion being an option in at least some circumstances.

“With the loss of these rights,” Murphy said, “I think it’s going to spur voters across our country to participate in local and federal elections to ensure that their representatives really are capturing their will.”


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